Home > Articles > Why you should not buy an iPhone from Jarir and others

Why you should not buy an iPhone from Jarir and others

The iPhone 3GS has launched in Saudi Arabia last November by Mobily but that did not stop gray market iPhones from being sold in the market and at a higher price from the official iPhone distributor.

I have noticed that Jarir Bookstore (honestly, where are the books?) have started selling the iPhone 3GS in Saudi Arabia. The iPhone 3GS 16GB cost 3,199SR/$853 and the 32GB model cost 3,599SR/$960.

I have checked and Jarir has brought these iPhones from Hong Kong, iPhones sold there are unlocked. According to the Apple Online Store the prices of these iPhone 3GS models are: 16GB for HK$5,388/2,603SR and 32GB for HK$6,288/3,038SR.

So why should you NOT buy an iPhone 3GS from Jarir?

1. The Mobily iPhone 3GS is officially unlocked. Jarir employees will claim that their iPhones are official but so did Axiom! Mobily employees will also claim that the iPhone is locked but they are misinformed as well!

2. Mobily’s iPhone 3GS is cheaper. Mobily‘s most expensive iPhone price is 2,599SR/$693 and 2,999SR/$800 for prepaid which includes free 250MB of data monthly for 6 months. That’s 600SR/$160 cheaper than Jarir and you get a free SIM card with data for 6 months.

3. Jarir doesn’t have an iPhone repair center. Mobily doesn’t seem to have a local repair center either, but they will replace your iPhone under warranty.

4. Apple’s Middle East distributor Arab Business Machines (ABM) have warned users against buying imported iPhones. So why does an authorized Apple retailer such as Jarir sell imported iPhone from Hong Kong? The same goes to any authorized retailer. So is Jarir dealing with a gray market with knowledge from Arab Computers and Arab Business Machines?.

5. Hurting the Saudi Arabia Apple market. Apple made a deal with Etisalat and Mobily and made them the official iPhone providers. This only hurt their sales numbers and how the Saudi Arabia market is represented to Apple, Inc.

6. The same goes to other Apple authorized retailers who are selling gray market iPhone 3GS. I will name them later.

7. The baseband is the same. All of the new iPhones now have the new baseband so Jailbreaking will not be easy in both cases. (Thanks Sharbeen for this point).

Yes, Mobily does have issues and we received many comments about them. But their iPhones are cheaper and unlocked. So the only reason to not buy from Mobily is the low stock.

Jarir iPhone 3GS on Jarir Bookstore‘s site. Display image by Abulaziz.

Arabic version of this article on SaudiMac.net soon.

This is SaudiMac’s 500th English post. I would like to thank you all for supporting the site.

Update: added a 7th point. thanks Sharbeen.

About Khaled A.

54 comments

  1. You are 100% Right but here are some facts. Firstly, mobile does not offer any bundles to any buyer, so if can’t buy cash I can’t get it an installment plan should be offered, like the one with Jarir and Sab, So the price is not big deal to me if I am buying from Jarir. Also, Jarir’s iPhone are not Jail Broken so it will update and every thing. At last but not least, IF Mobily is out of stock most of the time and my chance to buy one is low (since most know that allot return with an empty hand) While Jarir has some iPhone ready to go. What to do then ?
    Speaking of my self, I would buy. The problem is I have to pay my car first.

  2. can’t we order online direct from apple store … its a hell lot cheaper right?

  3. about the iphone repairs,
    mobily dont fix or trade! my iphones glass front broke, the iphone still works, the glass jst has to be replaced. i checked the internet and apple in america fif it for 199$ (for the 3gs model, is what i have) thats 750sr about. i checked mobily if the would fix it but they said they cant(i still had the warranty btw), although they said they would trade it for a new one for an unknown price, they would check their manager or something and call me back, i waited a week but they didnt call back!
    in the end , by accident. i passed by a store in rashid mall 2nd floor called ”fifa electronics” and they had a sign saying ”iphone 3g/3gs repairs” , so i went and asked them they said that they can fix the iphone for 280sr! (250sr for 3g, i had the 3gs) thats 75$ !!! they did it in half an hour, and it works great!

  4. I was also surprised that Jarir started offering the 3GS for a much steeper price than Mobily’s. Is it legal for Jarir to sell even if Mobily/Etisalat is the official provider in the kingdom? 

    See, iTechia was offering iPhones before too. But the owner of Mobily told the owner of iTechia (I heard it from the grapevine that the owners are cousins) to stop selling the iPhone last year, so iTechia, in good spirits, stopped selling their stocks. 

    If Mobily is still the OFFICIAL provider, can they forward a cease and desist order from the courts to Jarir? 

    • Mobily is still the official and only provider.
      Not Axiom, not Jarir, not iStyle …

      What Jarir is doing is considered gray market practice

  5. Hi, thanks for the info.

    Where can I fix my cracked iphone in Taif or Jeddah?  I looked around any many places said that I had to purchase a new one.

    Thnks

  6. Just the glass… im sure its not the LCD because its still working… its the top layer which just looks horrible!! 

  7. May be Khaled or any other expert can answer. I am thinking of purchasing iPhone 3GS 16GB on prepaid by paying cash from Mobily. Couple questions

    -If i buy from Mobily, can that phone be jailbroken? I read the new baseband is not jailbreak-able specially with OS 3.1.3? What OS new iPhone by mobily have anyway?

    -Also if i pay cash for iPhone 16GB, that doesnt come with contract or any obligation of purchasing data or any other tail like that right?
    Thanks all.

  8. jaikbreak-ability (dont know if this is a word) is important for me. I need a lot of non apple apps. I am too tempted to buy but i run the risk of being un-jaikbreakable for ever. Thanks for your comments khaled!

    • Maybe thinking too long will bring you to another generation of iPhone (4G – maybe this June) 😉

    • yeah but keep in mind we in KSA wont get it until may be Nov 2010 🙂

    • Good thing there’s the gray market 😉

    • Geohot has jailbroken the 3.1.3 and also solved the tethered jailbroken issues. HOWEVER, he is not willing to release it as yet (I think he’s waiting for OS3.2 to be released to see if the exploit can still work). I’m still on 3.1.2 and I have to agree, an iPhone without a all the custom apps from Cydia is not that enticing for me.

  9. Yes i have been monitoring the Geohot posts. He is sitting on his hack and not sharing. For me iPhone without jailbroken is not as useless like you said. So i postponed the idea of getting present iPhone. Now i am eyeing iPad 🙂

  10. salam alaikum, thanks for the article, but I had a question. I Really have my mind set on buying a 32G iPhone, but I’m looking for the lowest price possible, but your talk of Honk Kong made iPhones (are those not as good?) make me think twice. Should I just go for Mobily’s authenticated iPhones instead, if those are the best choice price and quality-wise?

  11. salam alaikum, thanks for the article, but I had a question. I Really have my mind set on buying a 32G iPhone, but I’m looking for the lowest price possible, but your talk of Honk Kong made iPhones (are those not as good?) make me think twice. Should I just go for Mobily’s authenticated iPhones instead, if those are the best choice price and quality-wise?

  12. Hi Khaled … how are you?

    i need HELP with my iphone 3gs, after i reset using the erase all media etc from the setting, then apple logo will show and the rotating cursor is really slow like it takes 10 minutes then after that it will restart again.
    PLEASE i neep help KHALED

    Thank

  13. I bought my iPhone 3GS from mobily …. Prepaid sim card with 16GB Black iPhone = 2600 S.R .

    Fresh iPhone 3GS ^ w ^ no problem at all .   i would recommend people to buy it Only from mobily .

  14. Hi,
    Just wanted to add that Mobily have some LOCKED phones. I know this because I know the people working in Mobily and they told me that some patches are in fact locked and most are not. Also, this is confirmed when my Uncle bought an iPhone and found that it is officially locked.

    • that’s unofficially locked.

      your uncle should demand an unlocked iPhone
      Look at this OFFICIAL document from Apple
      http://support.apple.com/kb/HT1937

    • I know this page but with the contract between Apple and Etisalat (and Mobily) they have the right to change the lock status anytime. So, Mobily ordered some locked patches and some unlocked patches. Also, for your information, Mobily wanted to lock their phones at first but due to some miscommunication between them and Apple the first patch of 3G phones arrived unlocked and this official page from Apple shows that it is locked based on that first patch.

    • CITC will not like it. but they don’t do anything.

      Anyway that page shows that the iPhones should be unlocked.
      I recommend demanding it to be unlocked or go to CITC :p

  15.  wot does locked mean and unlocked  plz i wanna answer !?

    • khaled are the iphone 3gs in jarir and other stores in riyadh are unlock?
      will the iphone 3gs worked if i used it here in the philippines with simcard of tour local network? pls reply tnx

    • it will work… 😀

  16.  and i i need to change the sim wot woud i do  like i am going egypt and i have an egyption   sim  could i change the sim if  i bought the  mobily i phone !!

    • try jawl sim if it does work then you can put any sim you want… but i know all iphone sold here is unlocked from provider…

  17. khaled are the iphone 3gs in jarir and other stores in riyadh are unlock?
    will the iphone 3gs worked if i used it here in the philippines with simcard of our local network? pls reply tnx

    • @mike: all iphone sold in Saudi are unlocked. For now direct from store you will  get 3.1.3 FW so you can jailbreak it with spirit or blackrain… Iphone iso4 is out, if you still need your iphone to be jailbreak don’t update now to ios4 okay. 

  18. Mr. Khaled
    I am coming to saudi arabia for a week. I want to buy an iphone 3GS 16/32GB from saudi arabia and as u have said, I should go for Mobily. I think there is a risk that if the iphone is locked and I have to leave saudi within a week, that phone will not work in my country and I will be left with quite an expensive paperweight. May be the new OS will not jailbreak. You say mobily iphone is unlocked but some say it is locked. Please advice.

  19. Mr. Khaled

    I am coming to saudi arabia for a week. I want to buy an iphone 3GS 16/32GB from saudi arabia and as u have said, I should go for Mobily. I think there is a risk that if the iphone is locked and I have to leave saudi within a week, that phone will not work in my country and I will be left with quite an expensive paperweight. May be the new OS will not jailbreak. You say mobily iphone is unlocked but some say it is locked. Please advice.

  20. Mr. Khaled, I am in Saudi arabia… its getting too late to take time out of ur busy sched to reply. I ent to mobily store in riyadh today… each and every of the staff members said that it is unlocked and can be used anywhere with any service provider. Looking forward to buy but will I get the warranty outside the country?

  21. Jarir book store is the best book store in saudi arab.I need one 16gb iphone . If possible, pls.what is the price of this. And how iget from jarir my cell no. is 0540536849

  22. but Jarir is now officially affiliated with Apple. And they are now an official distributor

  23. Dear Khaled/Saudi Mac Users,
    Please advice me on this issue.
    I had purchased iPhone 4s from Singapore in the grey market last November.
    Suddenly the screen has gone blank/frozen. I tried everything resetting the iPhone by pressing power and home button continuously for 45 secs with iPhone being charged.I also tried a restore to factory settings through iTunes.
    Now I assume that it is a hardware issue where the screen has gone bad and needs replacement?
    What should I do:-send this to SIngapore by courier and get it repaired?
    -send it to a Apple store when I go to USA and pay for the repair?
    My iPhone 3GS that I brought from Mobily 2 years ago is still working fine; I wonder if this screen issue going bad was a piece of bad luck or because I got it from a a? grey market.

    Thanks for your time and advice

  24. Salaams to all i hav bought an iphone4s frm abdulwahed trading co. makkah my iphone 4s was fading out nd restarting so i decided to reset to factory settings when i did dat my software was removed nd the new software didnt reinstall and i got errors 26 nd 21 m sending the phone back to saudi where shud i send it to the shop frm whr i bought or mobily or stc fr a replacement. i checked my phone status on apple.com nd it says i hav warrnaty till june 2013 a quick reply wud be very thankful. Allah hafiz nd eid mubarak to all.

x

Check Also

NotifyMe Brings iOS Reminder Service to the Mac [Review]

In a previous post I reviewed NotifyMe for iOS and we have seen and experienced ...

Best of SaudiMac for January 2011

Continuing our monthly feature Here are the top posts on SaudiMac for the month of ...