“Issues with the Saudi iPhone” series returns. Last time we talked about the lack of Arabic in the Apple iPhone and now we finally have Arabic support on iPhone 3.0 software. Let’s talk about another major issue with the iPhone 3G in Saudi Arabia: Mobily. Some can say that UAE’s Etisalat have similar issues.
The locked iPhone 3G
Mobily employees from day 1 continue to claim that the iPhone 3G sold by them is LOCKED to their network. We have stated that the iPhone 3G sold in Saudi Arabia by Mobily is in fact officially unlocked by Apple. Many employees still claim that the iPhone 3G is locked even after 5 months of the release.
No iPhone repair center
Ibrahim has taken his iPhone 3G that he bought from Mobily to have it repaired. Mobily had no support center for the iPhone 3G and their procedure was: take a photograph of the screen, send it to Apple and wait. Another friend in Jeddah told me that Mobily said that they can’t fix his damaged iPhone so he went to Arab Computers (Apple’s authorized dealer) and they said they cannot do anything for the iPhone.
No iPhone services
I called Mobily’s support number (1100) to ask them about tethering, a service already available by them under the name “Mobily Connect“, and they told me to install a program called PDAnet. That program is a jailbreak application, the process of jailbreaking voids Apple’s warranty on the iPhone.
I called a month later and they told me that tethering is “not supported” and I need to “use google to find a solution”. Tethering on the iPhone 3G is mentioned as a feature on Mobily’s iPhone page.
Visual voice mail is mentioned on Mobily’s site with a screenshot but that feature is not on the iPhone 3G.
Bad purchasing experiences
A visitor of SaudiMac has contacted me to tell me about his experience with purchasing an iPhone 3G a few months ago. He purchased an iPhone 3G with the 99SR plan, so he paid 2,700SR for the iPhone 3G and will pay a monthly subscription fee of 99SR. However the Mobily employee has registered the purchase as a 199SR plan, so the iPhone 3G price dropped to 1,200SR and that employee kept 1,500SR for himself.
That issue was resolved and the money was refunded.
iPhone 3GS preparations
The next iPhone, the iPhone 3GS will be released in Saudi Arabia this August. Mobily has yet to announce the release date. The previous iPhone 3G models are still sold at the same original price from 5 months ago. Other iPhone sellers in other countries reduced the prices of the iPhone 3G in preparations for the iPhone 3GS. Nothing from Mobily until now.
Mobily’s website shows a lot of iPhone 3G accessories, when asking an employee in one branch he told me to visit the main branch. That main branch said that they don’t sell iPhone 3G accessories at all.