Saturday 12 December 2009

iPhone again? I'd rather talk about hunky vampires and werewolves

On Wednesday, a friend asked me if I was getting the iPhone since prices are going down because of the telco war that broke out last week. He already has an iPhone, but was thinking of getting one for his girlfriend.

Not again. It seemed like every other conversation I’ve had recently – or overheard – was about whether someone was or wasn’t getting an iPhone.

So I just rolled my eyes and tried to steer the discussion to something less banal – like whether Robert Pattinson or Tayler Lautner is hotter.

Then my friend mentioned that to fight off M1 and StarHub, SingTel was offering the iPhone for $0 with its lowest-priced plan, which is $39 a month.

I said no way. If that were true, then everyone would get the iPhone – SingTel might as well not bother selling any other handphone models.

My friend insisted that he saw the SingTel ad in the newspaper. I insisted that he must have misread the ad.

So we made a bet that if he was right, I would buy him a meal. We hooked each other’s pinky finger to seal the wager and went to find a copy of a newspaper.

And there it was – a full-page SingTel ad with a huge picture of the iPhone 3GS. The copy read: “$0 on iFlexi Plans.”

I couldn’t believe it – I had to pay for someone else’s food. The horror.

The iPhone ads that day by the other two telco didn't say how much they were charging for the handset. SingTel had clearly trumped them.

For $39 a month, it would be remiss of me not to get an iPhone for myself – and my entire family.’

All of a sudden, my beloved iPod Touch, bought only two months ago, seemed hopelessly inadequate. Why couldn’t I make phone calls with this damn thing? It was like owning a black and white TV when everyone else had full HD.

I felt sorry for the suckers who paid hundreds of dollars for the iPhone just before the war broke out.

My friend decided to get the iPhone for his girlfriend and called SingTel to apply for the $39 iFlexi plan right there and then – with his iPhone, of course, which he paid hundreds of dollars for.

That was when he found out that he had to pay over $500 for the phone. Huh?

But didn’t the ad say $0?

We had failed to notice the fine print at the bottom of the ad. The $0 price only applied to the $95 and $205 iFlexi plans, he was told. Alamak! Who’s the sucker now?

This is what I call "LPPL", an abbreviation of a Hokkien phrase I picked up during NS regarding the collision of the male genitalia.

If you compare the iPhone plans of the three telcos now, they are actually not that different from one another. Both M1 and StarHub are also offering $0 iPhones with the higher priced plans.

I don’t know if my friend is still getting an iPhone for his girlfriend – but at least I got a free meal out of him.

- Published in The New Paper, 13 December 2009