Where to buy cheap Apple iPhone 3G in the Philippines

James Ryan Jonas

A year before Apple iPhone 3G phones arrived in the Philippines (thanks to Globe Telecom), hundreds of these exclusive cellphones showed up in several mobile phone retailers in the country.

Back in September 2007, we went to Virra Mall in Greenhills and found at least three stores selling open-line, ready-to-use 8GB iPhones for as low as P30,000 (US$714).

One store sold the iPhone for a flat price of P35,000 (US$833). Apparently unaware that the phones were unauthorized units, the store seller told us that the iPhone is expensive because it just “came out of the market” several weeks ago.

“Bago ‘yan, two weeks pa lang na-launch kaya mahal (It’s new, just came out of the market two weeks ago that’s why it’s pricey),” he declared.

Remember we’re talking about September 2007 here, not August 2008 when Globe officially launched the iPhone in the Philippine market.

Another store was selling the iPhone for P33,000 (US$785). The seller told us that the unit is open line and ready for use, meaning, one merely has to put a SIM card for it to work. No need for laborious hacking procedures.

The third store we went to was where we found the cheapest iPhone. A Filipino customer was inspecting the unit when we came. We asked the seller for another one, but was told the store carried only one iPhone.

Its price? “P30,000… sagad na (US$665… final price).”

And yet a year later, these prices are still unbeatable compared to the official prices of 3G iPhones from Globe:

Apple iPhone 3G Prepaid kit:

  • 8GB starting at P37,599
  • 16GB starting at P43,799
  • Globe’s prepaid plans come with P200 load credit per month for 5 months.

Apple iPhone 3G Postpaid subscription:

  • Monthly fees range from P1,599 to P4,999
  • Postpaid plans have a 2-year lock-up.

Insanely expensive, indeed.

Exchange Rate: P42.00 = US$1

See also:

James Ryan Jonas teaches business management, investments, and entrepreneurship at the University of the Philippines (UP). He is also the Executive Director of UP Provident Fund Inc., managing and investing P3.2 Billion ($56.4 Million) worth of retirement funds on behalf of thousands of UP employees.