Part of the supposed appeal of the new 3G iPhone when it was announced by Steve Jobs a few months back was that it was going to be much cheaper than the old iPhone. That was true until you actually looked at the fine print. The $199 pricing only applied in the US to those who signed a long-term contract with AT&T -- for which you had to pay higher service fees. In other countries the story was also questionable. Up in Canada, the only national GSM provider, Rogers, caused a stir with ridiculously high service plans
. After a rather loud protest, Rogers has pretended to relent by having a limited-time offer for cheaper data rates
, though still not offering an unlimited plan. This has potential customers still pretty ticked off
So, all early adopters that will ever be interested in the iPhone will have to buy by August 31. It's a ridiculous idea, and an obvious attempt to turn a concession demanded by the market into a cudgel against its customers -- not only can you not have an unlimited plan, but you can't buy at your leisure -- for example, waiting a few months to see if users reports overcharge horror stories from Rogers' miserly plans. You have to "buy now!!!, this offer is **limited**" What nonsense. If the plan is a bona fide effort to respond to a recognized customer need in a responsible manner, it should not be time limited.
Meanwhile, folks over in Belgium have a different problem. Due to laws forbidding the entirely reasonable practice of bundling goods together with subsidized pricing, you can only buy the phone at full price: which works out to nearly $1,000
. On the good side, this has highlighted how dumb the "no subsidized bundling" law is, and politicians are looking to toss it out this fall.