iPhone 3G: The great Middle East telco swindle?

    Should GCC iPhone telcos be forced to offer the mooted $99 handset?


    While news of Apple's reveal of its super-slick top-of-the-line iPhone 3GS stole the headlines at this year's Mac Developers Conference, arguably of greater interest was the company's announcement that it planned to offer a 'basic' unlocked version of the iPhone in international markets for US$99.

    Not surprisingly, in the Middle East, this news has not been entirely welcomed by Apple's exclusive distribution partners. Telcos such as Etisalat in the UAE and Mobily in Saudi Arabia have generated significant revenues from exorbitant data rates and deals which lure consumers with lower cost handsets but tie them to expensive minimum 12 month contracts.

    The fact the cheapest unlocked and approved iPhone handset retails in the GCC region for more than $800 puts the mooted $99 deal into further perspective.

    Should the region's telecommunication regulatory authorities, which control service prices, step up and force the hand of Apple's exclusive partners? If iPhones were made available at bargain basement prices, would you actually buy one? Would their sense 'exclusivity' be tarnished? Are all Apple products a blatant rip-off?

    Have your say now!

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