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iPhones to fund moguls’ debt repayments?

Big news everybody:  iPhones have officially landed in Iceland, meaning we can now actually buy them here AND use them without having to hack them first.

Apparently iPhones are this year’s Christmas present, or so the phone companies would have us believe. Incidentally, two of the three major telecommunications companies on the Icelandic market are still owned by people who drove the banks into the ground – Síminn [Iceland Telecom] by Ágúst and Lýður Guðmundsson, former owners of Kaupthing, and NOVA by Björgólfur Thór Björgólfsson, former owner of Landsbanki. The third major company – Vodafone – was owned by Baugur before it went tits up earlier this year [and of course judging by what’s happening with their other assets, it might well be owned by them again very soon].

The revered iPhones don’t come cheap here – Síminn offers a 3GS 16 GB model for ISK 156,900 [USD 1,285], and NOVA the same one for 139,900 [USD 1.145] for its customers in December. Apparently you can get them for half the price through Amazon UK – but then, how would those poor strapped útrásarvíkingar be able to raise funds to pay off all their debts? The ones that don’t get written off, I mean?*

Although to be fair, I am guesstimating. I haven’t been out yet. Currently 3°C [37F] and WINDY. In fact, I’d say the windchill factor probably lowers temps by several degrees. Sunrise was at 10.26 and sunset due for 4.01 this afternoon.

* Oh wait – are there any debts that are not being written off?



Comments on this entry are closed.

  • PeterRRRRRR November 25, 2009, 12:43 pm

    $1,000 USD for an iPhone? Wow, can’t imagine these will sell very well at that price. I suppose you could fly to the US, buy an iPhone for $200, fly home, and still would be cheaper. I just “drank the Kool-Aid” a couple of weeks ago, it is a pretty amazing little phone (and web browser, and email, and so on). Maybe you can talk to your web hosting service, get a mobile version of your site.

    According to the Amazon US site, “The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest” won’t be released here until May 2010. Bummer.

  • Marko Milivojevic November 25, 2009, 1:08 pm

    * Oh wait – are there any debts that are not being written off?

    Yes, there are. Mine and yours.

  • alda November 25, 2009, 1:08 pm

    Wow, can’t imagine these will sell very well at that price.

    Heh. Clearly you don’t know the Icelanders. They’ll pay any amount for the latest status symbol.

  • kevin o'connor waterford Ireland November 25, 2009, 1:08 pm

    At last my chance to boast I got my iphone 3g 8GB off ebay.co.uk actually the guy was in Cork,Ireland for €315 with £20 O2 ( Its a Brit Phone)call credit thrown in 2nd hand of course but I look at the price of the 3GS and its still over the top 32gbs admittedly for Buy Now £725 unlocked and jailbroken to get out of those pesky contracts but reality check, thats a top laptop price for a phone !!!, but seems cheap compared to the above at €852 for 16GB, so sales tip head to Ebay . I covet the 3GS 2 times as fast with magnetic compass,how does anyone get through life without a magnetic compass !!! but it will just have wait a bit, like my trip to iceland.

    @Alda* Oh wait – are there any debts that are not being written off?
    answer yes yours !!

  • kevin o'connor waterford Ireland November 25, 2009, 1:19 pm

    @MARKO MILIVOJEVIC curses you got in before me with the one liner 🙂

  • James November 25, 2009, 1:20 pm

    I’ve resigned from my job, bought 1000 iPhones from phone shops in London, and am powering over to Iceland in a speedboat for £400,000 profit before Christmas. Ringtone jingle all the way…

  • Joerg November 25, 2009, 2:32 pm

    Does this mean, there will be an iPhone-compatible version of the IWR blog available soon, to cater for the domestic (and international) demand?

    There are actually different versions of the iPhone on the market. So, when comparing prices, one might have to look carefully. And it makes a difference, if it is unlocked or not or if it comes with a contract or not.

    In Germany, an unlocked iPhone (3GS, 16GB) should be about 1000 USD.

    Actually, have the moguls ever repayed anything?

    You might buy your iPhone into your own company and ask for a bullet loan. Then you don’t have to bother about the price, just let the company go bust in due course.

  • Kristinn Kristinsson November 25, 2009, 2:36 pm

    If you are going to be comparing apples, you really should be comparing the same kind of apples (e.g. McIntosh apples to McIntosh apples and not a Haralson apple).

    The iPhones being sold by Nova and Siminn (and the ones you can by off iphone.is, which is affiliated with neither Nova nor Siminn) are factory unlocked and unsubsidised by carriers and carry a 2 year warranty.

    While you may be able to get an iPhone quite a bit cheaper in the UK and US those iPhones are locked onto a certain carrier (and are usually subsidised by the telecoms onto which they are locked) and you will have to resort to warranty-breaking actions to get them to work on different carriers with no guarantee that they will continue to work flawlessly with future software upgrades.

    So, if you are going to compare an iPhone sold by Nova or Siminn (and iphone.is for that matter) you really should do a price comparison to a factory unlocked and unsubsidised iPhones from, say Italy, which will set you back 140,000 ISK (with shipping + import duties) assuming you have know someone in Italy who is willing to ship one to you.

  • Petri November 25, 2009, 2:43 pm

    Geesh, I’d understand if it was something unique and never seen before, but nowadays there are dozens of similar phones and better. But what wouldn’t people pay to think they are cool!

  • Jessie November 25, 2009, 6:11 pm

    What? I thought paying $200 for mine was a rip off. They are neat but not $1200 worth of neatness.

    A couple of warnings for Icelanders: if they fall less than a meter they will break (the screen literally smashes into a million pieces) and cannot be fixed/replaced under warranty, and I was surprised to find that mine had been stolen in Reykjavik at a café over New Year’s, so keep it attached to your hip. 🙂

  • Alva November 25, 2009, 7:21 pm

    I understand some English and am trying to learn more . What is tits up example.

  • Bromley86 November 25, 2009, 7:27 pm


    No idea if they’re any good (as it’s not actually Amazon), but:
    Unlocked 16gb, £500 (ISK 102k).


  • hassan November 25, 2009, 7:47 pm

    The 150 000 kr is just the basic price, one has to add on the 400 kr per day for the caffe latte while sitting in the café with the iPhone on display on the table.

  • Jessica November 25, 2009, 10:10 pm

    To add to Hassan’s point: In addition to the daily 400 ISK needed daily for the latte (because you will need to go daily to a cafe or pub to show off the iphone) you also need to incur a 500.000-1.000.000 ISK charge for the stylish designer handbag (or “manbag”) from the Sævar Karl store on Laugarvegur in which said iPhone will be stylishly stored.

  • idunn November 25, 2009, 10:41 pm

    I just checked, and the most expensive 3G iPhone Apple lists on their web site is $200 US dollars, this in the USA. Of course one then adds on service contracts and what not, but the total cost surely nowhere that listed in Iceland.

    Wonder how that disparity can be rationalized?

  • cactusZonie November 25, 2009, 11:47 pm

    Obviously many people find it very important to have the very latest gadget no matter the cost. As they say , if you can’t afford it , finance it.

    Hey , if that floats your boat and makes you feel like a very important person , so be it. Shop until you drop.

    I was standing in line at a video store (or is that a DVD store now? ) not long a go and a cell phone rang in the line. It was very obvious that the phone was OLD. Is six years an “old” phone. Well , it seems that way by today’s standards. The ring tone that went off and was LOUD was the world famous NOKIA ring tone that so many people are familiar with. Everyone looked smiling at the person and some said “wow , ain’t heard that in a while”

    The person just laughed it off and was comfortable as he showed his “vintage” Nokia from 2003 . He just replaces the battery and could not care less about the new stuff.
    No , his phone did not have a 10 pound hand held battery pack.

    At that point I showed my phone , a five year old Motorola with dog bite marks on it since they do appear as a good chew toy.

    I have seen the new Motorola DROID and personally I think it beats the Iphone hands down. I will buy it When I NEED it.

    Some people feel inferior when they do not have the very latest product , or new “thing” . Some people could not care less.

  • Nancy November 25, 2009, 11:52 pm

    First of all, is it just me or do you think the comments are particularly hilarious today? Too funny. Second, do not spend that much money on that phone. There are many other fantastic phones out there for much less. Sounds like the powers that be are trying to gouge you – don’t fall for it. I got an LG Env Touch for 1/3 of the cost of the iphone, and … I still have a little bit of a crush on my phone. 😉

  • RLJ November 26, 2009, 8:48 am

    cactusZonie: I still have one of those Nokias – and you know why? Because it still works despite having been flung off various bridges by two toddlers. Ah, back in my day, things was made to last 😉

    This summer, I upgraded to a (still fairly basic) Samsung because I wanted an MP3 to play at the gym; I shouldn’t have bothered as however, pretty in pink it may be, the memory only holds 2 tracks at a time and I can’t get any of the blurry photos off and onto my PC.

    If you only want your phone to, er, PHONE and maybe at a push send an SMS, get the basic Nokia. If you want a camera, get a camera; if you want an MP3, get an MP3; and if you want to surf the internet from the top of Everest… get a life and look up and enjoy the view.

  • cactusZonie November 26, 2009, 8:12 pm

    I very much agree RLJ. I still to this day find the NOKIA from that “Vintage” and newer to be the MOST user friendly interface ever.

    I really don’t want those extra bells and whistles on a cell phone.

  • Sue November 27, 2009, 10:57 pm

    idunn…the $200 price is only WITH the two year service contract with AT&T.

  • Dankoozy November 30, 2009, 6:14 pm

    why would anyone bother with an iPhone when the Nokia N900 or even E63.. or even 2 tin cans and a string are better?