Friday, July 20, 2012

iPhone vs iPhone, Globe vs SMART

I've never seen something like this done before, so I'm going to do it here: a comparison of Globe and SMART iPhone plans. Here's a spoiler: one is better than the other.

Before anything else, allow me to say that phone plans give me a headache. Telcos offer you free minutes, free texts, better rates for calls within the network, better rates for calls outside the network, better rates for international calls, blah blah blah. Who the hell cares?!? Just give me my unlimited data. This is an iPhone plan, right? I will spend more time on Twitter, Facebook, Angry Birds and Instagram than texting friends, or calling relatives in Abu Dhabi. Dear telcos, in case you haven't figured it out yet, it's all about the apps. This is important because much of my analysis of these plans is based on that assumption. Of course, different people have different needs, so take what I say with a grain of salt.

Without further ado, here are the plans.

Let's start with SMART:

All-In Plans

Plan 500
Plan 800
Plan 1200
Plan 1800
Plan 2500
Plan 3500
Embedded data
25 MB
75 MB
75 MB
250 MB
500 MB
Cash Out (VAT - inc)
iPhone 4S 16GB
iPhone 4S 32GB
iPhone 4S 64GB

iPhone Plans
                        Plan 2499     Plan 999
iPhone 4S 16GB  FREE            999/mo
iPhone 4S 32GB  200/mo        1200/mo
iPhone 4S 64GB  400/mo        1400/mo
Free Minutes       300             100
Free SMS            300             40
Free Data           1GB            250MB

Unlimited Data Plans
                       Plan 4000      Plan 3000       Plan 2000     Plan 1500
iPhone 4S 16GB  FREE            FREE              2500            12500
iPhone 4S 32GB  FREE            FREE              8000            17500
iPhone 4S 64GB  FREE            5000              12000           22500
Free Minutes       400             300                150              60
Free SMS           300             240                200              120
Free Data           UNLI           UNLI              UNLI             UNLI

Head hurting yet? Good.

Let's break it down. Basically, you can get an iPhone from either of two ways: through regular All-In plans, or through iPhone plans.

My suggestion here is to do something very bold and forget about the All-In plans. They're all rubbish. Remember that iPhones are for apps and this makes iPhones data-hungry. The All-In plans are lousy for data and bundle more consumable minutes and SMS than you'll probably need. (Unless you're one of those weirdos/oldies who buy an iPhone then use it for calls and text and never learn how to download an app, hehehe.) Plus the cash out for the iPhone is comparatively high.

The iPhone plans meanwhile offer two extremes. 

Plan 999 is for cheapskates who desperately want an iPhone. If you get this plan, you'll end up paying P999 for the plan PLUS P999 to pay for your iPhone. And you'll probably get killed in network fees because the free calls, SMS and data are so low. But hey, at least you'll have an iPhone. Cash out is still less than Plan 2000 and up. Steve Jobs would be proud of you. 

On the other end is iPhone Plan 2499. I quite like this plan. The free network stuff is quite reasonable, and 1GB of data isn't bad even though I prefer (and highly recommend) unlimited data plans for iPhones. Plus you don't need to pay a thing to get your phone, provided your iPhone is the cheapest (16GB) one. 

At the risk of sounding like a broken record, iPhones are for apps and thus consume lots of data. You will want an unlimited plan. iPhones really become most useful when you're not worrying about getting charged for network fees. That's when you can turn on all your push notifications, geolocation stuff, and all the iPhone's bells and whistles. So if you actually plan on using your iPhone, you should be focusing your attention on the Unlimited Data Plans (the last part of the chart fiesta up above).

The four Unlimited Data Plans available are at least one plan too many in my opinion. The el cheapo Plan 1500 actually does it for me since I am not heavily into calls and text. You have to cough up some cash for the phone though. This might be a problem for the cash-strapped, and if you're one of those guys, allow me to show you iPhone Plan 999 where the cost of the phone is amortized monthly. If Plan 1500's free calls and SMS aren't enough for you, simply go up the table. Plan 2000 looks more like the average person's monthly usage, and the iPhone will cost you less. Plan 3000 and Plan 4000 better give you the damn phone for free because you're paying an awful lot of money for a few more extra minutes.

In summary:
iPhone Plan 999 - cheapest way to get an iPhone; no cash out to buy the phone but cost of phone is amortized monthly (I'm including this plan for comparison purposes, but I'm warning you now, it's no good. More on that later.)
iPhone Unlimited Data Plan 1500 - for people who want unlimited data but have no friends to call and text
iPhone Plan 2499 - this is the sweet spot BUT no unlimited data 

And now for Globe:

With Globe, there are two ways to get an iPhone: the simple way and the mind-numbingly complicated way.

Globe was nice enough to cook up a plan for the iPhone. It's called Unli Surf Combo 1799. Not a name that rolls off the tongue, eh?

"With Unli Surf Combo 1799, you get:
 • Unlimited mobile surfing
 • P800 consumable monthly
 • 3 call and text freebies

iPhone 4S  
Unli Surf Combo 1799

This actually sounds reasonable. You get Unlimited Data, and a good amount of consumable calls and text. On the downside, you have to cough up some cash. The amount is somewhere in the middle of SMART's Unlimited Data Plan 1500 and 2000. You also get some freebies, which frankly isn't worth the trouble explaining.

Globe prides itself in its customizable plans. You get to choose exactly what goes into your plan and what device you get etcetera etcetera. This sounds great on paper, but it really makes my head hurt. In fact, it's all so complicated that it only makes sense when you use the plan generator on Globe's website.

So what I did was I used the plan generator to try to replicate the plans I liked from SMART. That way we can compare the two and see which plan is cheaper, or which plan gives us more.

In summary:
Unli Surf 999
iPhone 4S? Check. Unlimited Data? Check. And that's it. You get nothing else. You can get some free calls and text from the freebies, but that's really not much. This means you'll be paying every time you make a call or send a text. Not cool. (You can also add to the cost of your plan for more free minutes, but then your plan is almost as much as Unli Surf 1799.) Worse yet, you have to pay practically full price for the iPhone. That's P28,099 for the 16GB iPhone 4S.
Unli Surf 1799
See above. This plan makes sense. But it's not exactly cheap. iPhone 16GB will cost you P4,800.
Unli Surf 2499
Just like Unli Surf 1799 except you get P1,500 worth of consumables. And the iPhone 16GB is Free.

Globe vs SMART
At the el cheapo level, P999, SMART wins. At least you get to pay for the iPhone in monthly installments. You also get some free minutes and SMS. Globe's Unli Surf Combo 999 gives you, yes, unlimited data, but the iPhone cost will make you weep and you get no free minutes.

Because of the high cost of the iPhone, both of these plans are real stinkers. AVOID AT ALL COSTS. For SMART, you will be spending P999 + P999 for 24 months. For that kind of money, you might as well get Unlimited Data Plan 2000, or Globe's Unli Surf 1799 plan. For Globe's Unli Surf Plan 999, you'll be paying P999 per month plus P28,099 for the phone.

In the middle, I have to side with SMART again. The P300 more for Globe's Plan 1799 is a deal-breaker for me. I'll admit that you do seem to get more from Globe's more expensive plan, and if free calls and text are an issue for you, then it might be a better idea for you to go with Globe. As for me, I'm after the cheapest Unlimited Data. SMART's Unli Plan 1500 is your ticket to get an iPhone with Unlimited Data.

I realize I'm not normal, so for heavier phone users, SMART's Unli Plan 2000 is the sweet spot. For Globe it's their Unli Surf Plan 1799. Which one's better? Both provide unlimited data, so it really depends on your phone usage. You get the 16GB iPhone for P2,500 with SMART, P4,800 with Globe. A toss up.

At P2,499, Globe wins. Unli Surf Combo 2499 gets you unlimited data. SMART's iPhone Plan 2499 only gets you 1GB. Both plans offer the 16GB iPhone 4S for free.

Alright. My head hurts. I hope I got my facts straight. Do please correct me if I got anything wrong. Because my head hurts. Make phone plans simpler, okay Globe and SMART?

Click here for Globe and here for SMART to do the comparison yourself. Prepare for headache!


tipidtips said...

I got my iphone 4s 32gb from globe for free. Plan1799 and 30-month lock in, which is okay since i've been with them for 10 years already. :)

Nerd B. said...

All these with the assumption of having equal mobile service between the carriers. Actually comparing side by side both telcos offer pretty much the same. That's why Smart is now trying to leverage itself as the one with the better coverage. No sense trying to pay for unli data when you can't get a decent connection. <-- this coming from a 10yr subscriber of Globe.