On the 19th of August, T-Mobile Hungary announced the prices of iPhone. At the first moment comes the relief: the phone itself doesn’t cost much. The second thought: the package prices aren’t bad either. Next thing, what comes into my mind: does it worth to change carriers? Are there any alternatives to these packages?

Answering these questions, it’s worth to compile a comparison chart. Bring in the Excel file!

The carriers make a great effort to come up with packages that are not comparable to the competitions’. Lucky for us, we find ourselves in a situation, where each three of them allows us to use the monthly fee for speech, or SMS, and - most important - they can be purchased with optional internet access. They also have fix-price structure, and use charge-by-the-minute concept. This means, we can easily compile a sheet, where we can compare the packages based on our actual usage.

In the sheet, we present the base data: package prices of Pannon, Vodafone Fix, and T-Mobile “ikon”. The carriers not selling iPhone directly have been calculated with the Italian carrier-free iPhone’s prices (8GB model), while T-Mobile has the prices of 1 year / 2 year contract distinctively.

In the first round, I’m searching for answer of the most selfish question: does it worth to buy a carrier-free iPhone, and have the service bought at my current service provider (200 minutes speech, 20 SMS, 1GB data monthly - based on the previous half year’s usage)?

Short answer: no. Longer answer: absolutely not. Currently, there isn’t any carrier in Hungary that has lower prices for this usage pattern, except for T-Mobile ikon 400. It doesn’t surprise me that T-Mobile came up with a better package, than the competitors, but the extent is shocking: based on the monthly subscription and usage fees can be challenged (calculating with the 8GB model: 9990 Ft vs. 10958 Ft), but the later needs a phone of iPhone’s caliber to be bought.

It even gets uglier if we compare the minutes / data of the “ikon 400” package: 9990 Ft vs. 17000 Ft. I think this is what it means to have the competition’s price undercut.

The final blow comes from the calculation of TCO (total cost of ownership): 267.000 Ft vs. 387.000 Ft / 2 years. No comment.

I believe, the decision makers and Pannon and Vodafone are scratching their head, how to come up with a package at least this good. Using my Excel, I tried some strategies, and have to say this: with their current product and price structure, there is no hope for them. The least is to introduce a 2GB data package around 2000 Ft, but it has to come with a phone that comes near service AND price with the iPhone.

Another problem will be, that these two packages are aimed at a well-positioned, middle and high consumption customers. Only for the highest consumption customers (speaking more than 1200 minutes AND / OR using more than 6GB of data, monthly) remain Vodafone or Pannon a fiscally logical alternative.

At the beginning of the article, you can download the Excel file. You can freely try it with your own usage, or can be extended if you are interested in other measures. Have a nice experiment!

Another important thing at the end: how does the iPhone primer comes to the internet bank? In the next article, we’ll tell you the answer.