The iPhone in Hong Kong: A bargain at $24 a month


Philip Elmer-DeWitt is a senior editor at Fortune.

Even as Canada's Rogers Communications and Germany's T-Mobile compete to offer the worst voice and data plans for the iPhone 3G, Hutchison Global Communications on Monday unveiled what may be the best.

Hutchison (htx), which stuck a deal with Apple (aapl) in May to bring the iPhone to Hong Kong and Macau, will be offering customers a choice of two pricing plans:

  • 8GB iPhone for HK$2,938 ($377) plus HK$188 per month ($24/month) for 500MB voice and data
  • 8GB iPhone for free plus HK$498 per month ($64/month) for 2,200 minutes airtime and unlimited data.

"We believe the (minimum price) plan is comfortable enough for average data users," a Hutchison spokesperson told the Dow Jones Newswire, adding that 500 megabytes will allow users to send 250,000 emails or browse Apple's Web site 2,000 times. (link)

Bottom line in U.S. dollars: Including the cost of the phone, Hong Kong residents will pay between $955 and $1,532 over the life of a 24 month contract.

Some comparisons (all expressed in U.S. dollars for the equivalent of a 2-year contract):

  • Hutchison in Hong Kong: $955 (500MB voice and data) to $1,532 (2,200 min., unlimited data)
  • O2 (tef) in the U.K.: $1,698 (75 minutes, unlimited data) to $3,588 (3000 min., unlimited data)
  • AT&T (t) in the U.S.: $1,879 (450 min., unlimited data) to $3,318 (unlimited voice and data)
  • T-Mobile (dt) in Germany: $1,366 (500MB data) to $3,374 (5GB data)
  • Rogers (rci) in Canada: $1,624 (150 min., 400 MB data) to $2,932 (800 min., 2GB data)
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