What to Know When Buying an iPhone 3G in Hong Kong

A reader of my blog asked a series of good questions and I thought it may be something all readers will be interested in, so I decided to create a post to answer him. Jonathan asked:

If I simply buy the phone from the Apple store (unlocked) and then get the sim from vodafone (they have a deal on at the moment) will it be as simple as putting it in and turning it on, and I’m good to go? Also, is there anything I need to be aware of when I am choosing my contract?

Yes, all iPhones purchased legitimately in Hong Kong from the mobile carrier Three (“3”) or Apple HK Online Store are full carrier (SIM) unlocked iPhone 3G, and will accept any SIM cards that support the GSM: 850, 900, 1800, 1900MHz and/or GSM 3G: 850, 900, 1900, 2100MHz.

Continue reading “What to Know When Buying an iPhone 3G in Hong Kong”

Is Smartone-Vodafone’s IOM Value Pack Right for iPhone?

Smartone-Vodafone logoOver a month ago I decided to switch to the Smartone-Vodafone “IOM Value Pack“. You can read why I make this move in my previous post, New Tariff Plan from Smartone-Vodafone for iPhone.

I had shared my experience here on my blog with my experience of using the iPhone in Hong Kong since June 2007. You can follow all of these posts by using the iPhone category.

Today is the last day of my bill cycle at Smartone-Vodafone, so I am now able to report if this “IOM Value Pack” is suitable for iPhone users in Hong Kong.

First I will provide some statistics on my iPhone voice and data usage in the past 30 days.

Internet Browsing as they called it = 27.378MB
Data Usage = 4.373MB
RSS Usage = 13.579MB
POP Usage = 0.340MB

As the IOM Value Pack at HKD136/month includes 600MB/month (20MB/day) Internet Browsing, I am within the limit. The Data Usage, which is most likely the result of IMAP email and other application usage. The POP usage is from one of my email account that I grab mail from, and the RSS reader, these all total 18.292MB, Since the IOM Value Pack charges HKD15/15MB, the extra usage resulted in an additional charge of HKD30.00, giving me a final total of:

HKD30.00 (extra data usage)
HKD12.00 (MTR fees)

Total = HKD178.00

This is still cheaper than what I was paying prior to switching to the IOM Value Pack.

Smartone-Vodafone Dropping POP3

Smartone-Vodafone LogoWell not exactly… that are dropping POP3 in the list of protocol that comes free with their “Internet Browsing” plan.

For those iPhone users in Hong Kong who followed my advice and subscribed to the Smartone-Vodafone’s “Internet Browsing” and the GSM 2G/3G Data plans, you should have received a SMS from Smartone-Vodafone to inform you that they will be dropping the POP3 protocol within the “Internet Browsing” plan.

One less protocol in the already limited features list of this “Internet Browsing” plan; you can see my article, “iPhone Hacked in Hong Kong on Smartone-Vodafone“, from a Smartone-Vodafone customer’s point of view on using the iPhone in Hong Kong for my opinions on this plan.

I am not certain if this decision of Smartone-Vodafone is the direct result of too many Smartphone and iPhone users using the Internet Browsing plan for POP3 and IMAP access. It is very obvious that their Product Development department did not think clearly about this plan before they launch it, and now they are trying to recover by dissecting the features of this plan further. Spawning even more VAS from it.

If you are one of the many iPhone users who took my advise in the article, “iPhone Hacked in Hong Kong on Smartone-Vodafone“, then there is no need for you to do anything. Unless your POP3 usage is so large that it exceeds your current 2G/3G Data plan monthly quota. In that case you may want to weight the benefit of upgrading to the higher 2G/3G Data plan of the new “POP3” VAS to the Internet Browsing plan.

Note: that Smartone-Vodafone only speak of POP3 and they did not mention IMAP, nor did they exclude any POP3 access over a VPN. So you should take these into consideration if you need to argue with them on your next phone bill.

Smartone-Vodafone Really Doesn’t Know

Over the past 3 months in preparation of my eventual iPhone usage on the Smartone-Vodafone network, I began testing to see which is the best combination Smartone-Vodafone data plan to subscribe to.

Prior to August of this year I subscribed to Smartone-Vodafone’s “HKD118.00/month Data Plan”, which gave me 10MB of usage per month and a HKD15.00/MB thereafter. While using my Nokia E61i at the time I frequently exceeds my 10MB allocation for the plan. I also did not use the GPRS access freely due to the limit imposed by the plan. Continue reading “Smartone-Vodafone Really Doesn’t Know”