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The Apple iPhone in New Zealand

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 22-Jul-2007 10:35

I am reading the New Zealand Herald story "Tech disciples await 'Jesus' phone" and I am worried about this poor people who can pay $1100 for an iPhone here in New Zealand, without knowing all the limitations.

Let's see: a company is importing those devices into the country, and even though people are buying an iPod with phone, they can't connect it directly to the local GSM (for now) operator Vodafone New Zealand. Why? Because it's locked to AT&T's network in the U.S.

So the options are:

a) buy an iPhone and use it as an iPod only and browse the Internet through Wi-Fi (which is not available everywhere you know) therefore having an iPhone without the phone, or

b) buy an iPhone and use it as an iPhone but with an AT&T number, paying to roaming fees to place and receive phone calls, paying four times the normal SMS prices and forcing your friends to place long distance international calls to reach you on an American number (did I mention you'd be paying to receive those calls as well?)

Now, what the article (and the importer) fails to mentions is that AT&T policy is that if the network detects more than four months of usage outside their "home" location, the cellular connection is cut:


An obliging customer service agent explained that if AT&T's computer sees four months of chitchatting in Alaska (or elsewhere out of AT&T coverage area), service will be automatically canceled.

But if you call AT&T ahead of time and explain to them that you'll be on an extended trip, you can avoid service termination -- at least for a little while.

In a second phone call, Siegel testily confirmed the four-month figure.


The importer also confuses EDGE with GPRS: "Surfing via wireless broadband network is fast; web access via EDGE on Vodafone is much slower" but fail to let users know that there's no Vodafone EDGE network in New Zealand, it's all GPRS - and patchy performance as we know. Of course the New Zealand Herald doesn't mention this in the article either.

In the meantime, kiwis could look for the cheap Chinese knock off on Trade Me, the "iPhone inspired" tPhone.





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Mauricio Freitas
Wellington
New Zealand


I live in New Zealand and my interests include mobile devices, good books, movies and food of course! 

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