Friday, December 25, 2009

Maxis, blackberry, iphone plans in depth analysis

For this post, the purpose is not to review the tech specs between iphone and blackberry, but to compare the plans from a cost perspective. I'm a wannabe finance analyst :). I will be using maxis as an example, cuz i'm stuck with Maxis. Also I'm assuming, no matter what, that people who go for either a blackberry or iphone will always have a data plan and the costs do not decrease after time.

The blackberry and iphone plans differ in one major aspect. The web browsing. The BIS plans are confusing and on the surface 5mb for the bis lite at RM40 isn't too appealing. 1mb = 25 pages, and 125 html pages per month. That is ridiculous. If I'm at a bookstore and want to see book reviews, i will be browsing probably 10 webpages at one time easily. So already blackberry will be out of the picture where browsing is important unless u get RM120 for the unlimited data plan and only then is it worth it to get the blackberry. On the other hand, the iphone is 500mb of data for 50 a month. That is totally worth it from a web site surfing cost perspective. Forget about youtube with the blackberry.

Ivalue plan Iphone discounts

Ivalue plan specifications and monthly cost

So, we look at the iphone. Ok, we have numerous plans, some of them, when you combine two, will approximately equal another plan. Take the ivalue plan for RM100 per month. This plan combines both phone and data into one package. You get 333 minutes of talk time, 500mb of data, and 100 sms free to other maxis users, otherwise you pay 10 sen for sms to other operators. The major cons are inflexibility and for every sms to other operators, you will be paying an additional ten cents. Cost wise, the RM100 per month would be the minimum, but most likely you will be paying more than that, especially if you sms to other operators.

Idata plan monthly cost

Idata plan Iphone discounts

Next we have the value plus 50 plan and the Idata plan, both are RM50 each per month. So if you were to purchase both, you would have a plan that is similar to the ivalue plan. I think its interesting because we have some choice and flexibility. So, i'll explain the valueplus50 plan. Its call and sms rates are cheaper than the ivalue plan but only for maxis to maxis, but more for maxis to other operators. You would get RM50 worth of calls or sms at the rates in the following charts. If you spend more than that, you pay more. Most likely, the rates average out at the ivalue plan's rates of 15 sen per min talk time and 10 sen sms. So we'll just assume they are basically the same rate.

Value plus 50 plan charges

The Idata plan is RM50 a month which gets you 500mb worth of data. The data plan is identical to the Ivalue plan's data portion.

Now, this is where the situation gets interesting. For the first 12 months, the Ivalue plans lets you buy the iphone for about Rm100 less than the Idata plan. Between the money spent on extra sms from the ivalue plan and the RM100 saved on the purchase of the iphone; ends up probably around the same for the first year. You would have to sms A LOT(around 300-400 per month) to take the valueplus50/idata over the ivalue plan. So, it probably doesn't matter which one you take.

Either you could buy the value plus 50 and the idata, or just the ivalue plan. But after the first year, if you don't spend a lot on calls and SMS, it is more advantageous to get the valueplus50/idata instead of the ivalue plan. Your costs will likely be only around RM100, while the Ivalue costs would be always more than RM100 unless you don't sms at all.

The conclusion to get the valueplus50/idata plan, sounds obvious right? Yes, but Maxis actually offers a whopping additional RM400 discount to the Iphone for a 24 month period ivalue plan while compared to RM200 for the idata plan 24 month period. In this case, if you don't mind committing to a 24 month period, the BEST deal is to actually get the Iphone 24 month plan. The savings from the initial iphone discount is that good.

Of course there are cases where it might not be advantageous. Say you don't use 500mb, and could go for the 250mb idata plan which costs only RM30 a month for the second year, then we are talking RM240 in savings, but its not much different from the RM200 in additional savings, netting only RM40 in savings. Not much of a difference if you ask me.

Also, if you plan on changing your phone in the first two years, then yeah, it makes no sense to do the 24 month plan.

So, in summary:

1. valueplus50/idata50 approximately equals the Ivalue100 plan.
2. If you do light usage(less than RM50 in calls and sms, it is better to to get the Ivalue plan THEN switch after the first year.
3. If you can do the 24 month contract Ivalue plan, this is the best regardless of the usage. Then after the first two years maybe switch to the valueplus50/idata if they still have it.
4. If you consistently spend over RM50 in calls and sms, Ivalue is better as the discounts on the iphone are all that matters, for this kind of usage.

Well, after all this, i might still get the blackberry because so far i count 10 people telling me to get the blackberry. So this analysis might be for nought, but such a shame to let it go to waste, so i'll leave it for anyone who is interested :)