Apple iPhone 5: Price comparison by country

James Ryan Jonas

Where can we buy the cheapest Apple iPhone 5?

We checked the prices of Apple’s newest smartphone in each of the countries that will have early shipping next week and we discovered that the cheapest Apple iPhone 5 will be sold in … We’ll tell you in a little while. First, a backgrounder on the iPhone 5.

The new iPhone 5

In a media event on September 12, Apple unveiled its much-awaited update to the iPhone 4S. It pretty much lived up to the expectations of most Apple fans, thanks to several rumors about new iPhone design and features that proliferated weeks before the launch.

As expected, the iPhone 5 is bigger, thinner, lighter, and faster. Apple jacked up the screen size to 4 inches, making it at par with the larger displays of competitors. The display screen sports a 1136 x 640-pixel resolution, 326 pixels-per-inch Retina display, and 16:9 aspect ratio. With a bigger screen, five rows of app icons, instead of four, can now fit on the home page, of course on top of the bottom row of shortcut icons.

Apple also shaved 18% of the bulk of the iPhone 4S. The iPhone 5 has a depth of 7.6 mm, making it one of the thinnest smartphones in the market today. At 112 grams, the phone is also lighter. It has 20% less weight than the iPhone 4S and is one of the lightest smartphones ever.

A tabular comparison of technical specs of the iPhone 5 versus Samsung Galaxy S3, Nokia Lumia 920 and other smartphones can be read in the article.

Other iPhone 5 features

Aside from the design changes, other hardware modifications include the release of “Lightning,” Apple’s new 8-pin dock connector that will retire the traditional 30-pin connector. The new port charging connector will permanently replace the 30-pin dock cable that has been with the iPhone and other Apple gadgets for years.

The iPhone 5 body is also now made with aluminum and glass, replacing the plastic back casing of the iPhone 4S. With its metal form, the unit can survive several drops and is a lot sturdier. Users don’t have to worry anymore about fingerprint marks at the back of the unit because the plastic has been replaced with aluminum.

Software-wise, the iPhone 5 will be one of the first Apple products to have the new iOS 6.0. Facebook is now fully integrated with the new iPhone, making media sharing easier and more convenient, that is, directly from Camera or Photos. Also upon syncing, Facebook events will be updated to the Calendar and the profile info of a Facebook friend will be automatically linked to Contacts.

The updated Safari browser in iOS 6.0 will enable users to upload and share photos right from Camera Roll. A Camera picture mode also makes panoramic views easier to shoot.

Price Comparison: Apple iPhone 5 prices by country

Now, we go to prices. Apple announced that starting next week, September 21, early shipments of the iPhone 5 will be made to nine countries. That includes the the US and Canada in North America; UK, Germany, and France in Europe; and Australia, Japan, Hong Kong, and Singapore in Asia.

The local prices of the three iPhone 5 models — 16GB, 32GB, and 64 GB — are shown below. The prices mentioned refer to prices of iPhone 5 directly sold by Apple, unlocked, and not under any telco plan.


In the US, the new iPhones will be sold at subsidized cost if a subscriber gets a postpaid plan (usually a two-year contract) with any of the networks Verizon Wireless, at&t, or Sprint Telecom. The discounted iPhone, if under a contract, would cost $199 for the 16GB model, $299 for the 32GB, and $399 for the 64GB unit.

Prices of iPhone 5s in Japan have not been announced yet.

To enable us to know which country offers the cheapest iPhone 5, we converted the local currency into US dollars, using the exchange rate on September 13. The comparable prices are summarized in the following table.


It appears the most expensive iPhone 5 will be sold in Europe. UK has the highest cost among all the countries considered, followed by Germany and France.

Canada offers one of the cheapest iPhone 5s and, similar to the US, the price would surely be lowered when telco networks start offering subsidies for postpaid contracts.

On average, the iPhone 5 will be sold relatively cheap in Asia. And looking at the comparative table of prices, it is apparent that Hong Kong is the country outside the US that offers the cheapest iPhone 5.

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.