If you are hoping to find a bargain priced iPhone 5 in Thailand, you’re likely to be disappointed. Apple keeps firm control of global prices – Hong Kong and Singapore might be better places to look for savings
The iPhone 5 isn’t even out yet in Thailand – it’s due for official launch in Thailand at the end of October 2012. It’s already available in other major Asian cities like Hong Kong and Singapore. Unfortunately Apple products are rarely much cheaper in Thailand than elsewhere in the world – Apple keeps global control of its product prices.
The current price of a grey-market imported 64 gb iPhone 5 in MBK is around 41000 Baht – that’s an eye watering $1400 USD, but some Thais are willing to pay it just to be first. Even the Wall Street Journal picked up on this mania for having the iPhone 5 at any price. That price will obviously drop like a stone when the official iPhone 5 launch happens in Thailand.
Thailand uber-blogger Richard Barrow has the full rundown of what the official iPhone 5 prices will be in Thailand - 16GB 32,500 Baht, 32GB — 36,500 Baht, 64GB — 41,000 Baht – so that’s around $1000 USD for the 16 GB model.
Can I Save Money On An iPhone 5 in Asia?
The one major difference about buying an iPhone 5 in Asia is the amount of Value Added Tax or Sales Tax imposed by a country. In the UK, for example, VAT is 20 per cent whereas in Hong Kong it’s zero. That’s obviously a big difference to the final price.
You can see the current iPhone 5 price for in Apple Store Hong Kong and Apple Store Singapore. It will be available in the Apple Store Thailand eventually. Convert the currency by using XE.com/ucc or similar.
The caveat is that if you buy your iPhone 5 in Asia and it goes wrong when you get home, you may not be able to get it serviced and fixed under guarantee. Therefore you need to weigh the balance of potential cost savings versus peace of mind if you end up with a defective model.
Also if you live in the USA, it’s unlikely that you will see the iPhone 5 significantly cheaper anywhere overseas – the US is such a huge market that sheer volume of sales keep prices down.
Getting A Sim Card for Your iPhone 5 In Thailand
The iPhone 5 in Thailand should arrive unlocked as per the iPhone 4, meaning you can buy it here and use it with any compatible network around the world.
The main issue with the iPhone 5 for travellers is that Apple has changed the SIM card size again – it’s now a Nano Sim, even smaller than the micro Sim in the iPhone 4, and surprise surprise they are not compatible. Therefore buying local sim cards in Asia for your shiny iPhone 5 could be a bit of a problem. Thailand will get nano SIMs very quickly but you will probably be hard pressed to find them elsewhere, meaning that the vendor will need to chop a standard sized SIM card down to size to fit into the iPhone 5. Which could be fun.