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Bell undercuts iPhone plans with unlimited Instinct

Globe and Mail Update

The smartphone that has been hailed as "the iPhone killer" by online pundits is coming to Canada on Aug. 8.

The Samsung Instinct, which has many of the same features as the Apple iPhone, differs from the iPhone in one major way: Its monthly price plan, which will dramatically undercut the iPhone plan announced last week by Rogers Wireless.

A subscriber can buy the Instinct for as low as $149.95 and then pay less than $40 a month for a modest voice plan accompanied by an unlimited Internet on Bell's high-speed data network.

In contrast, Rogers Wireless's cheapest iPhone plan costs $60 per month, and includes only 400 megabytes of data.

Like Rogers, Bell Mobility offers a variety of voice plans, but asks $10 a month for the unlimited Internet plan, applicable to the Instinct alone. The plan includes unlimited Web browsing and Internet e-mail (including Hotmail and Gmail accounts), as well as attachments. Features such as the global positioning system as well as live and on-demand TV are treated as separate expenses, such as the optional $15 per month streaming music plan. The lowest price plan for the Instinct includes 100 minutes of local calls for $20; 1,000 minutes of voice calls from 9 p.m. to 7 a.m. and weekends (Fridays from 9 p.m. to Mondays at 7 a.m.); an $8.95 monthly system access fee; 75 cents for 911 emergency calls, and the $10 unlimited Internet plan. The monthly total comes to $39.70 before taxes.

There is also one-time activation fee of $35.

The only feature the Instinct does not support is the use of the Instinct as a "tethered" device offering roaming wireless data access for laptops.

The Instinct offers touch or stylus navigation on a QWERTY-style touch-screen keyboard. It also offers a global positioning system GPS with traffic updates, Windows Live Messenger and Windows Live Hotmail; mobile television, SIRIUS Satellite Radio, and a 2.0 MP camera/camcorder. The phone also has a slot for a Micro SD card, which can handle 8 gigabytes of data.

Bell is also offering access to its Full Track Music service, which has 2 million songs in its catalogue, for an extra $15 a month.

The Instinct will be available for $149.95 on a three-year contract, $249.95 on a two-year contract or $399.95 on a one-year contract. Without a contract, the phone will be available for $449.95.

In more technical details, the Instinct has a full-touch screen with haptic feedback, meaning it responds when keys are pressed, and connects to the EV-DO Rev A high-speed data network.

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