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Gadgets & Home Improvement

iPhone 5 on sale through telcos from Sept 21

Details on pricing, tariffs and availability dates to release in due course.
The Business Times - September 14, 2012
By: Joyce Hooi
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iPhone 5 on sale through telcos from Sept 21 PHOTO: SPH

[SINGAPORE] SingTel, M1 and StarHub will start selling the new iPhone 5 from next Friday

, even as pre-orders directly through Apple start today. The telcos' announcement came in the wake of Apple's iPhone 5 launch early yesterday morning, local time.

All three telcos did not reveal their accompanying price plans and no mention was made of Long Term Evolution (LTE) - or 4G - plan options for what is Apple's first LTE-enabled phone.

SingTel and M1, however, have appeared on a list of supported 4G networks on Apple's website, but not StarHub. BT understands that StarHub's LTE network is on a frequency that is compatible with the iPhone 5, which technically means that the handset will work.

On StarHub's Facebook account, subscribers are being told by customer service staff that the iPhone 5 is supported on the telco's 4G network. Even so, StarHub has declined to formally confirm this.

"Details on pricing, tariffs and availability dates will be released in due course," StarHub said in response to a BT query.

SingTel's 4G network was launched in June, M1's will start tomorrow and StarHub will launch theirs next Wednesday, two days before iPhone 5 sales start.

The ability to access the 4G network on the iPhone 5 could make the difference between a bang or a whimper for the launch of the 4G networks here.

"While the 4G premiums could be a minor stumbling block . . . the bigger stumbling block is likely to come from the limited 4G handsets that are available," said OCBC Investment Research's Carey Wong in a report on Wednesday.

"Currently, there are only four phones and two tablets that work on Singapore's LTE network. However, this could change with the launch of the new iPhone 5."

People wanting to circumvent the telco route can pre-order the phone from today through Apple's online store or certain authorised resellers, without a contract.

The handset will go at $948 for the 16 gigabyte (GB) model, $1,088 for 32GB and $1,238 for 64GB, including GST. It will start shipping from next Friday.

Users wanting to clamber onboard the 4G bandwagon or sign up for a new 3G plan because of the iPhone 5 will find themselves with smaller data bundles, starting from 2GB a month.

All three telcos have embarked on a dramatic re-pricing of data and, by the time the iPhone 5 goes on sale, will have done away with the generous 12GB data bundle offered on even the cheapest of 3G plans in previous years.

In the United States, operators are also using the iPhone 5 launch to reinforce tighter data pricing.

Verizon's subscribers have been told that they will only be able to hang on to their unlimited data plans if they pay the full price for the iPhone 5, - which works out to US$649 for the 16GB model, for example, instead of the subsidised US$199 with a contract. The 32GB and 64GB models will cost US$299 and US$399 respectively, on a subsidised basis with a two-year contract.

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