Tag Archives: Brazil

Locked out from the inside: the prices for iPhone 5s in Brazil are just… no

Gold is best

It’s been almost 5 days since carriers and stores opened at midnight and started to sell the new iPhones 5s and 5c in Brazil. And this is how long it took me to recover from the blow of the incredibly high, borderline offensive prices and disappointment in the entire situation.

Now Brazilians are used to the scenario. Video games, books, gadgets, computers, you name it, we have the most expensive prices for anything down here. News of this sort are as common as soccer scores to the point that they don’t even get that much attention anymore. However, just a few weeks ago the entire gaming community felt like they were being victims of a prank when Sony announced that the Playstation 4, which is being sold in the US for $400 would be sold for R$4000 (or U$1742) down here.

The PS4 is being referred to as PS4K now. People quickly did the math and found out that it is actually cheaper to fly to the US, buy it over there (hotel and food included) and come back with it rather than buy it here. And the rejection was so overwhelming that Sony underwent a press blitz to try and explain the prices, even breaking down financial information and blaming an old enemy of ours: taxes. However they weren’t very convincing, as the Xbox One starts at U$957, which is already an absurd price but became really cheap after the PS4 news.

So, back to the iPhone. We had been really excited, as for the first time we didn’t have to wait too much for the rollout. For the first time we’d have the new iPhones in November instead of December. But as the (unconfirmed) release date got closer, some scary information started to leak. First, the price table from Saraiva, a major retailer in Brazil. The prices for the unsubsidized 5c were U$871 for the 16 GB model and U$956 for the 32 GB. Meanwhile, the unsubsidized 5s would start at U$1174 for the 16 GB, then U$1261 for the 32 GB, and a whopping U$1348 for the 64 GB model.

Oh, before I forget, minimum wage here is U$295. Per month.

As the days went by, all sorts of prices began to hit the news. Some a little lower, some a little higher, but all of them around the same ballpark as the original Saraiva prices. A sense of disappointment began to take over. Even when the release date (which had been a rumor up until last monday) was finally confirmed, people were’t particularly excited about it anymore.

Then, one day before the release, carriers (which historically hold out on the prices until the last second) began to unveil their prices. And that’s when the real mess starts. Because in the US, things are way simpler than down here. You have 2 sets of prices. You have the on-contract price, and the off-contract price. And that’s it. Your service level or data plan has zero influence on the price of the device (thanks for the help, @jasonpbecker).

Here, however, things are a little different down here. You have 4 major carriers (TIM, Vivo, Claro and Oi), and they have an average of 6-8 different plans, ranging from around U$50 (60min of phone use, unlimited SMS, 2GB of data) to U$300 (where everything is unlimited). Now for each plan, from each carrier, iPhones have a different price.

Then came thursday. The big day. Only it didn’t really feel like the big day. If last year things felt a little cold, this year made last year feel like a blast. Traditionally carriers make big events in flagship stores inside malls with music, food and celebrities, as well as huge lines, and when the clock ticks midnight, sales officially begin, and unless you bought a phone within the next 12 hours, you were bound to wait a couple of months until you had a second chance.

This year however, lines were really short. Only the minority that hadn’t been put off by the prices decided to go check things out in person. Some went so they could see and hold the new models for the first time (keep in mind that we haven’t really seen that many around yet). Some went just to see with their own eyes if those were the actual prices. And some went still hoping to buy one, maybe knocking off a few hundred bucks with the help of all the accumulated points with their carrier relationship program.

I stayed home and followed on twitter as people tweeted their current situation. Up until that moment, Vivo (which is my carrier) was the only one who hand’t officially released the prices for the iPhone. And then we found out why.

You see, down here you can choose between a 1-year contract (remember the 6-8 different plans?) or a pre-paid no-contract line. Carriers tend to charge a lot more for the pre-paid, so people feel inclined to get a contract line. When Vivo unveiled the official off-contract iPhone 5s prices, they managed to turn the Playstation 4 into a great deal.  The prices for the 5s were U$1481, U$1743 and U$1960, while the contract prices started at U$763 (5s 16 GB) on a U$159/mo plan.

At around 3am Apple unveiled the prices for unsubsidized iPhones 5s and 5c directly from the Apple Store website:

– 5c: U$871 and U$1046.
– 5s: U$1220, U$1394 and U$1568.

Notice how the 16 GB 5c and the 16 GB 5s prices don’t overlap. We are currently the only country in the world with this U$174 price difference between the two, as far as I know.

The next day I went to my carrier and decided to see how much a space gray 16 GB 5s would cost me, if I renewed my (expired) 1-yr contract and traded all my 39.000 points accumulated in these 4 years that I have been a client. Since LTE isn’t exactly a stable service yet, I decided to stick with my 3G plan. The dude from the carrier started typing on his computer, picked up a calculator, started typing over there as well, and I must confess that I started to feel a little hopeful.

He stopped fiddling with the keyboards looked up, made a dramatic pause (I swear), and said “U$1264“. I thought that he was joking. Only he wasn’t. Turns out that with my carrier, every 5.000 points you get an amazing U$6.50 discount on a new device, and renewing my 1-yr contract would give me $0 discount.

I left the store, and on my way to the car I realized that it would actually be cheaper to buy the unsubsidized iPhone from the Apple Store website instead of the iPhone from my own carrier, and renewing my contract for another year. How insane is that?

I really wish that this had been a different release. Not only this was the fastest rollout ever, but also for the first time retailers and even the Apple Store started selling the new iPhones from day one. Last year it took over 6 months for the Apple Store to start selling the iPhone 5. And this coordinated release might have a positive impact on sales. But I don’t really expect good sales numbers from down here. I looked up and asked around, and there isn’t a single place where any device or any model or capacity is sold out.

Instead of an exciting release that we are used to seeing all over the world and especially in the US, this year we were left with a weird release and an overall sense of powerlessness. It feels like the new iPhone isn’t for regular Apple users or even for early-adopters and tech users, but flat out for people who have got so much money, that ironically they won’t even know how much they paid for it. I was excited to get one, but as it is I guess that I’ll have to wait until I have the opportunity to bring it from the US, or maybe wait for the next version, if that takes too long. Talk about forward thinking.

It’s a shame. I was excited about it.

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Brazilian minister wants Netflix and iTunes Store to pay domestic taxes for streaming videos

Today during the keynote for the Congress of the Brazilian Association of Cable Television (yep, it’s a real thing), Paulo Bernardo, Minister of Communication said that he defends that services such as Netflix and the iTunes Store start being subject to the same tributes as Cable operators (which add up to 20%) in order to promote a fair competition between the two.

I don’t even know where to begin commenting on this absurd idea. Forget for a second (as very well put by Renato Pessanha – sorry, portuguese only) that these tributes are already charged with the internet bill and that in order to actually manage to have an internet connection in Brazil it’s very likely that operators will force you get cable TV as well. The very idea that charging taxes would be the only solution to provide a ‘fair competition’ between the cable tv business and on-demand video streaming is beyond surreal.

This ‘solution’ proposed by Paulo Bernardo shows that people who hold any sort of power in this country have absolutely no clue of how things work anymore. It’s sort of when you go to a store to get a new device and right from the start you notice that you actually now way more about the subject than the store seller. Only since we’re dealing with politicians, the result is always related to picking our pockets.

The worst part is that there is only one solution to this problem. And it’s not immediate at all. It was explained by Steve Jobs back in 2003, during the D1 for AllThingsD when he mentioned the difficulties Apple had to face when they introduced the first computers:

“When I started in this business one of the biggest challenges was people couldn’t type. And one day we realized that death would eventually take care of this. And so people know how to type now.”

When I come across a piece of news like this one, or that the National Library Association wants digital books to become available with a 120-day delay to favor bookstores (among other absurdities), I have the utmost certainty that the world is moving way, way, way faster than what these people (unfortunately in positions of power) have the capacity to acknowledge and follow.

Instead of trying to observe, understand and learn about the new ways of consuming and distributing contents, their first (second, third) instinct is to try to make them fit into their already established rules to keep serving particular interests of each individual segment.

And we’re out of luck, because there is nothing we can do other than wait for these people to go away and hope that their chairs get occupied by people with a fresher mindset. Retirement and death are our allies here. Meanwhile, we will need to have lots of patience to endure the ignorance of those who can’t keep up with the world, but just won’t admit it.

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We are the champions again: Brazilian iPad mini is the world’s most expensive

Now it’s confirmed. The iPad mini in Brazil starts at R$1.300 (or U$576), up to R$2.150 (U$954) for the most expensive model.

I found an article by TechHunter UK which lists prices for the iPad mini around the world. Approximating the conversion, prices in the USA (U$329), UK (U$413), Germany (U$345), France (U$353), Switzerland (U$435), Spain (U$338), Japan (U$333), South Korea (U$404), Hong Kong (U$322), Singapore (U$371), Australia (U$333) and New Zealand (U$326) average to U$353. That’s U$223 less than over here.

It’s pretty frustrating to have held out for so long, just to buy it when it was officially released in Brazil. After the news came out that the iPad mini had been licensed by Anatel to start production at Foxconn in Brazil, I figured it would be a nice gesture to buy it when it came out over here. Maybe it would help to show that if there was an effort to push prices down, there would be a greater demand for the product, right? Nope.

Now not only will we have to pay almost as much as what a 32GB retina 4th gen iPad costs for a 16GB mini, but also the models being sold here are the same as the rest of the world, manufactured in China. What the hell are those iPads mini being produced in Brazil for?

U$576. That’s more expensive than the 64GB model in the US. I guess it’ll have to wait.

Note: The Dollar/Brazilian Real exchange rate has been extremely unstable in Brazil. While U$1 had been stable at around R$2 for a while, in the last month it has climbed to R$2.25, which is the conversion I used for these comparisons.

Related posts:
Finally: iPad mini begins selling in Brazil on June 25th
We are the champions: Brazilian iPhone 5 is the world’s most expensive

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Finally: iPad mini begins selling in Brazil on June 25th

iPad mini Brasil

8 months and 2 days after its release, the iPad mini will finally start selling in Brazil, according to retailers such as Fnac.

I’m just really, really afraid of being put off by the prices (which naturally haven’t been disclosed yet). Despite Foxconn’s assembey of iPads mini in Brazil, it’s still uncertain if these are the devices that will be sold here, and if so, if this will have a (hopefully positive) reflex on prices, since the iPhones assembled and sold in Brazil are still the world’s most expensive ones.

But that’s excellent news. I was afraid that this first gen iPad mini would never make it here.

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We are the champions: Brazilian iPhone 5 is the world’s most expensive

According to a study made by MacWorld Brazil, the iPhone 5 sold here is the world’s most expensive, leading way ahead of Italy, which holds the second place. Here’s the list:

1- Brazil (U$1150)
2 – Italy (U$946)
3 – Portugal (U$908)
4 – Mexico (U$888)
5 – Germany (U$881)
6 – France (U$881)
7 – Austria (U$881)
8 – New Zealand (U$876)
9 – Spain (U$868)
10 – Luxemburg (U$861)
11 – United Kingdom (U$850)
12 – Australia (U$837)
13- Switzerland (U$782)
14- Canada (U$705)
15- USA (U$649)

I obviously wouldnt wish for the sales figures to flunk, but everything points that the success of the launch won’t really promote any pressure or need for the prices here to change any time soon.

What a shame.

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iPhone 5. I tried

After avoiding yesterday’s launch chaos, I decided to go to my carrier Vivo’s store and check out how much a 16gb iPhone 5 would cost me if I stayed on my data plan, used up all the fidelity credits I acummulated during 3 years and renewed my contract for another year: R$2500, or U$1200.

Maybe some other day.

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Three days before the iPhone 5 is released in Brazil, things are pretty unexciting

This is turning out to be a pretty weird iPhone 5 release in Brazil. In other years, the week preceding the iPhone’s release is filled with news, rumors and poorly taken pictures of prices, plans and release events. Releases are pretty much like in the US, with huge lines all night long, big events in stores… you know, the whole thing.

However, this time around it feels like there will be no release at all. It’s as if the iPhone 5 had already been released long ago, and it’s not news anymore. Of course that on the night between thursday and friday there will be lines, events, happy people holding their iPhones like trophies. And I’m pretty convinced that the release will be a success, with those waiting lists filled with names eager to be lucky enough to be among the ones who’ll get their new iPhones with a new batch in the following days.

But merely 3 days ahead of all that, the mood is different. Nobody is talking about it. Nobody is asking about it. It’s a mix of distrust and dismay.

Carrier TIM is to blame for a big part of it. They released those insane prices a few days ago. Vivo, Brazil’s biggest carrier (well, at least the one with the most clients), tried to use this as an opportunity, but when they announced that the cheapest price would be R$1449 (U$698), we got to the conclusion that it’s inevitable that the iPhone 5 will be more expensive than the iPhone 4S, which will cause even the used phones market to hold on to higher price levels.

As a result, potential buyers for both new and used iPhones are having to go back to their budget spreadsheets to do some extra math, trying to figure out if they will be able to buy the Chirstmas gifts they had been planning for so long.

The reasons for that have already been explored. The main villain has been identified. It’s the exchange rate. It’s gone up 17% in the last year. Even Peter Oppenheimer, Apple’s FCO has blamed the exchange rate for the increase of Apple’s prices in Brazil, when asked about it via email by a brazilian called Victor Marques Soprana. But the fact is that since TIM released those crazy prices, all the anticipation gave way to this… numbness.

It’s a shame. Just as Apple and Brazil reach their tightest relationship, with iDevices being manufactured here, Apple Store just being announced, portuguese-speaking Siri on the brink of being released, here comes (or comes again, that is) the price factor, old acquaintance of Apple enthusiasts in Brazil.

There is still that naïve hope that once all the cards are on the table, once all carriers release all the prices for all the plans, we’ll have a pleasant surprise. But history shows that when it comes to carriers, the odds aren’t really on our side.

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Ho-ho-holy crap, the iPhone 5 prices in Brazil are insane

Blog do iPhone brings the news that mobile operator TIM has just released the information on iPhone 5 pricing in Brazil. TIM only sells contract-free, full-price phones. The 16gb version will cost R$2399 (U$1155), the 32gb will cost R$2699 (U$1299), and the 64gb will cost R$2999 (U$1444). They go on presale today. The iPhone 5 will be launched just a few days before Christmas, on Dec 14th in Brazil and over 50 countries.

The price of the iPhone in Brazil has always figured among the highest in the world, but this time it’s been taken to a whole new level. The information on TIM’s website indicates that the  price of the iPhone 4S will be maintained, so it looks like the iPhone 5’s entire line-up will be placed at an even higher price level.

That’s very disappointing news.

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Brazilian Black Friday? More like Friday the 13th.

What a mess. Today brazilian online retail gave an example of either complete lack of prepare, either lack of honesty, or both. Kotaku gathered the most bizarre offers (translated link) found in today around the internet in this hideous try of a Black Friday in Brazil. Among the weirdest items, you could become a proud owner of Windows ME for aproximately U$206. Huh?

What the hell was this day? More to come next year.

Via: Gizmodo Brasil

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What does an official Apple Store in Brazil mean?

Apple has confirmed to brazilian website G1 that they are indeed opening an Apple Store in the country. But what does this mean?

An Apple Store in Brazil is an important step for Apple. First because it’s the beginning of a way overdue expansion to Latin America. Second, because after John Browett’s canning, this opening is going to be closely supervised by Tim Cook himself, who’s temporarily filling Browett’s spot.

The choice of Rio seems obvious. If the mere fact of opening an Apple Store is a celebration by itself, the first store in Brazil couldn’t be anywhere else other than the place most closely connected to Samba, Carnival and Celebration.

Remember the image illustrating the arrival of the iTunes Store in Brazil. Yeah.

iTunes Store BR

I really hope that the store is in a new, fresh place, with own architecture and project, like the famous cube Store in NY, or the Shanghai Store. Or that they at least get a hold of a cool place, with singular architecture, like they did with the Passeig de Gracia Store, in Spain.

Now regarding the prices, it’s hard to imagine that anything will change when compared to the prices they already have on the online Apple Store. I hope I’m wrong, though.

While there is no information regarding when the store will actually open, it’s not something that will happen overnight, since they just posted job openings for all departments, including the Genius Bar, which takes some extensive training hours to say the least.

Anyhow, a brazilian Apple Store is very good news. This might also mean that new hardware releases start getting here faster. How great would that be?

The only ones mourning this news are probably stores like A2U, iPlace and so many other authorized resellers, which have been feeling this void for long enough. Not anymore.

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