How to buy an iPhone in Pakistan

This week I went to buy 3 iPhone 6s phones for the kids and the wife…surely an easy task. Kind of…. as with most activities I have come across nothing is as simple as going to the store and buying, as there are always a few other variables to be added, which make it an exciting adventure.

Upon asking and Googling around, I had a rough idea of the price range I was looking for, I just needed to find them. With no ‘official’ Apple store to be found they can be bought from retailers and on sellers. I checked out Dalman Mall, a nice upmarket shopping centre like most you would find back in Australia. All the stores I visited were out of stock and the price was about 3-6,000 Rupees ($AUD 40-80) more expensive that I knew I could buy for.

After telling my friend about this, he ‘knew someone’ so we headed to the Mobile Phone Market in Nazimabad. IMG_0285This was an entire block of shops and laneways full of anything and everything mobile related. An amazing place full of color and people. It reminded me of years ago in Pakistan visiting the DVD Souks to buy pirated DVD’s, CD’s and pretty much anything on a disk including software etc., as well as certificates for school and university qualifications…and No, it wasn’t where I studied my MBA…!

Anyway, back to the phone’s.

We went to my friends, mates’ shop, but he didn’t have them we had to go elsewhere, so we weaved through the aisles and found a store.

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They had 2 @ 64GB which is what I was after, but I wanted 3. They were about 3,000 Rupees more than I knew I could get, but I figured to save the hassle this would do. All of a sudden a 3rd one appeared…cool…240,000 Rupees ($AUD3262) was the price so let’s do it…

Not so simple…I needed my N.I.C (National Identity Card) but I don’t have one, so I offered my passport which was quickly whisked away somewhere to be ‘copied’’. I was a tad nervous as the ‘two minutes’ became 5, then 10, but it came back.

IMG_0288 IMG_0286Then to pay, “do you take card?” Yes sure…but there is 2.5% surcharge…I was getting a bit over it by now and said to them, I am happy to pay the extra I know I can buy it for, because my friends recommended this place, but wont pay the surcharge. There was a standoff for about 10 minutes, and then eventually they agreed to waive it. But they wanted me to go to the bank, pay into an account then come back, but I refused.

Finally after several phone calls, and waiting, and me threatening to go in 2 minutes, a solution was found. They would charge 99,900 Rps there, then pay another 99,900 Rps somewhere else, then the balance of 40,200 Rps somewhere else, so my credit card went for a tour of the markets, with me being a tad more nervous, as I sent my driver along to ‘escort’ my card, but they all came back and I had 3 slips to sign.

Job done, 3 new iPhones in my possession.

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The next task was to obtain SIM cards for them.

Having previously gone through this process, I was prepared, and started this process before the family had arrived. I had given passport copies, visa copies, and as soon as they landed, emailed passport entry stamp copies to the telephone company. Due to security, all persons have to be registered, and you can have 2 sims per verified ID. In most cases they will also take a fingerprint scan as well, but we managed to bypass this with all the other ID used. The day after getting the phones the phone man met me and provided the Sim cards, so we are all good to set up the phones.

I used Warid Mobile, and loaded a pre-paid with 5,000 Rupees ($AUD 67.97) which ends up being about 3,500 Rupees after you pay for the card. Data can be bought as you go, so they were loaded up with 5GB for 300 Rupees ($AUD 4.08)which is very well priced. Calls to Australia are also extremely cheap with about $0.03 per minute to a landline, and $0.12 to a mobile) so calling home is cheaper than making a local mobile call back at home!

So that’s how we bought our phones…..

Aussie In Lahore…

**Post Note**

I didn’t buy my phones in Dubai as they have some features blocked and not on the phone, like Facetime, which is a good tool for communicating to home. Having just set up all 3 phones, I have found that none of them have Facetime, so apart from the annoyance, I have one angry daughter, but she has been tasked to try to find the ‘hack’ for this, so it looks like our phones may have come from the UAE or some other country whom blocks this feature…Grrrr..

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