Smartone-Vodafone Unlimited Plan for iPhone

Smartone-Vodafone logoFinally Smartone-Vodafone released a tariff plan that address the usage habits of iPhone users in Hong Kong.

The yet unnamed “iPhone Unlimited” tariff plan from Smartone-Vodafone will cost HKD238.00/month + HKD12.00 (MTR fees) for unlimited HSDPA data usage along with a 18-month contract.

Most mobile Hong Kong phone users and readers of my blog know, Smartone-Vodafone has in the past, differentiated what they refer to as “Internet Browsing” and other HSDPA data usage. This has been one of my pet peeves for years. I always thought mobile carriers should focused on delivering the best connection possible to their customers, rather than coming up with complicated ways to charge their customers for using the connection.

Welcomely this new “iPhone Unlimited” tariff plan does not include the above local data usage differentiations. It only exclude tethering; the use of the mobile phone connected to a computer to act as a HSDPA modem, and roaming data usage from the “unlimited” definition.

As all of you who used iPhone tethering know, mobile carriers cannot tell the difference between traffic via iPhone tethered to a computer and regular HSDPA data traffic on the iPhone from native applications.

Since I currently do not have a contract with my tariff plan at Smartone-Vodafone and my monthly bill had been over HKD300.00, I will seriously consider signing up for the new plan in the next few days before my bill cut off day.

If your current extra data usage is costing you more than HKD45.00 per month and you still had not used your iPhone to its fullest, I would recommend you consider this new plan.

20 Comments

  1. Indeed a good analysis of what are offered from the various carriers in Hong Kong.The speed of 3G network on all carriers have a downlink speed of 3.6 Mbps except for Smartone-Vodafone and PCCW. Although, both of these carriers are reserving the faster 7.2 Mbps downlink speed for their HSDPA USB Modem plans. At the moment very few mobile phones currently has the capabilities of supporting the faster 7.2 Mbps downlink speed.Smartone-Vodafone claims that all locations where 3G coverage is available, their network is capable of up to 14.4 Mbps downlink speed.

  2. It seems like Smartone has changed their SmartoneIN portal to be more iphone friendly. The text has become bigger for easier touch access, and the videos that come with the news articles are now encoded in Quicktime which allows you to watch them on the iphone.One thing that has disappeared from the portal is access to live TV eg BBC News / CNBC etc. I hope they are working out a way to encode these in quicktime / RSTP so that we can have these streamed to the iphone also.

  3. You are correct, but I don't believe it is best to use the POP3 Unlimited email addition unless you really only use POP3/IMAP traffic much more than other extra HSDPA data.Note that for Smartone-Vodafone's “Internet Browsing” they are referring to all traffic through the Mobile Safari and YouTube iPhone applications and not just HTML.

  4. smartone iphone plan:$398 unlimited data – $225 rebate on your phone + $36 + $12 admin fee = $221/mthSmartone IOM Value pack:$96 20MB/day HTML + $0-298 data + $12 admin fee = $108 – 406/mthSo if using less than 105 MB non-HTML data/mth then seems IOM Value pack is cheaper and if most of your data is POP3 then can subscribe to unlimited POP3 for $30 to save the data charge.Or am I missing something here??

  5. I've looked into this tariff and question if it is such a good deal It is basically the same as their deal for the HTC Magic and very similar to the Three iphone deal (well actually more expensive, as with SmarTone you have to pay the $12 tunnel fee every month, but with Three, they waive this).Total cost for a 24 month contract with this deal is: (398+12+36) x 24 = $10,704.Now the Iphone Unlimited tariff is $238 + $12 a monthTherefore (238+12) x 18 = $4,500.An iphone 3gs brand new costs $5,388, so $4,500 + $5,388 = $9,888.Also give it a few months and I'm sure you'll be able to get second hand iphones 3gs's at a much cheaper price.Also with the 18month plan, you can cancel your contract with a $500 penalty at any time. With the new plan, you are locked in for the full 24 months, because you need to claim your rebate.

  6. In case others is interested the Smartone-Vodafone plan that Stephen is speaking of is “iCombo plan“Although, the 3 HK equivalent tariff plan is better, one needs to remember that committing to 3 HK for 2 years is much worst than committing to Smartone-Vodafone.

  7. Smartone now offering $5388 handset rebate if you sign up to a $398 + $36 + $12 plan for 24 months.Not a bad deal, but you are tied in to 24 month plan – I guess Smartone is trying to emulate the “3” handset offer.

    1. Although the iphone rebate plan is good, not sure if it’s so great to sign up for 24 months.

      If you buy a 32GB iPhone, and sign up to the $238 “smartphone polan”, your total outlay over 24 mths is:

      $6288 + $250 x 24 = $12,288 (with 18 month commitment)

      If you take up this plan the cost is:

      $6288 + $446 x 24 – $5388 = $11,604 (with 24 month commitment)

      So overall, you save $600 with this plan but have to commit to 24 months.

  8. Hi Rupen,Smartone-Vodafone cannot distinguish the tethering traffic from the iPhone if the iPhone is connected to the computer (Mac) via USB cable. You can see my experience in my post Smartone-Vodafone & iPhone in Hong Kong.Please understand that “upload, download and VoIP” are not barred by 3G carriers in Hong Kong, these HSDPA traffic normally incur extra cost, but the new Smartone-Vodafone HKD238.00 Unlimited Plan just explicitly includes these type of traffic in the monthly allowance.Yes, Smartone-Vodafone's HSPA network currently supports up to 14 Mbps downlink and 5.6 Mbps uplink, although the equipment (USB HSDPA modems) supplied by Smartone-Vodafone only supports 3.2 Mbps and 7.2 Mbps downlinks. Similarly the iPhone 3G and 3GS also supports 3.2 Mbps and 7.2 Mbps downlink respectively.There are 3rd party (Option) HSDPA modem that can support 13 Mbps downlink, but there are no guarantee that it will work with Smartone-Vodafone. Plus you will need Smartone-Vodafone to allow your account to utilize 14 Mbps downlink. As their service is currently explicitly limits the downlink to a maximum of 7.2 Mbps.

  9. I actually signed up for this plan (moved over from People unlimited data). The terms state that it is only for mobile use only (however how are SmarTone able to distinguish mobile phone data from tethering?)But it specifically allows file upload/download and VoIP (which are normally barred from on 3g, btw what is the position with Three Hong Kong on this)?Also was told SmarTone support up to 14Mbps download speeds (a bit of a moot point as I'll be using it on an Iphone 3g).

  10. Yeah, I did called the CS the other day about this plan. I still have an existing contract for another 5 months. I asked if i need to wait for 5 more months… the CS lady said yeah….. I am now paying $138 – 1200+800 min + 20mb/day IOM – web browse+ youtube only

  11. Paul that is ridiculous. I would not stand for that. Did you try calling their Customer Service?Another reader and myself called Customer Service and they allow both of us to subscribe to the new “Unlimited Plan for iPhone”. We are both existing Smartone-Vodafone customers.BTW: did you have an existing contract? Was your exiting contract with Smartone-Vodafone expired?

  12. Unfortunately, Smartone doesn't allow me to change to this plan… I am using their old IOM 20mb plan. I heard that they don't even allow the old customer using this plan as well.

  13. One thing i've noticed when comparing my browsing with friends who use 3 is that smartone seems consistently slower. Anyone else experienced the same? Something you may want to consider before signing up for this plan.

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