S'pore, India, Philippines get iPhone 3G

Apple's mobile device will be unveiled in the three countries at the stroke of midnight Aug. 22, as the respective local carriers prepare special launch events.

The Apple iPhone 3G handset will finally come to more countries in Asia at the stroke of midnight Friday.

Singapore, India and the Philippines will be holding launch parties for the second-generation Apple iPhone when the clock strikes 12am on Aug. 22 in the respective countries. In Singapore, the launch will be held by SingTel--the first of three carriers in the country that inked an agreement with Apple to sell the mobile device.

M1 and Starhub told ZDNet Asia that their plans to bring in the phone by the end of the year remain unchanged, although the carriers did not specify a launch date.

India's SingTel-affiliate Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Essar have contracts with Apple to bring the phone to the Indian market. Bharti is holding its launch three cities: Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore.

Globe Telecom in the Philippines has exclusive distribution rights for the country.

Operators in the respective countries will offer the iPhone in two flavors--16Gb and 8Gb--but prices differ in each market.

According to SingTel's Web site, the 8GB model will retail for S$348 (US$246) with the basic subscription plan of S$56 (US$40) per month. The 16GB model will be available at S$508 (US$260) with the same plan. Both versions will be available at no additional cost when customers sign up for SingTel's highest-tier plan of S$205 (US$145) per month.

Subscribers will have to sign up for a minimum two-year contract with the Singapore carrier to purchase the iPhone. A SingTel spokesperson told ZDNet Asia that "tens of thousands" have already placed orders for the mobile device, and "thousands" are expected to show up at the launch party tonight.

According to India's Airtel Web site, it appears the phones are not tied to subscription plans, with the 8GB model retailing for 31,000 rupees (US$712) and the 16GB version for 36,100 rupees (US$829).

In the Philippines, Globe will sell the 8GB model for 37,599 pesos (US$827) and the 16GB for 43,799 pesos (US$964). Mobile customers will have to sign up for a subscription plan of 1,599 pesos (US$35) per month, and the Philippine carrier will offer a rebate of 15,100 pesos (US$332) for the smaller capacity model and 20,600 pesos (US$453) for the 16GB.

Hong Kong and Japan were part of the iPhone 3G earlier launch on Jul. 11, which included 20 other countries.

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