Saturday, August 23, 2008

"Phoney" iPhone Lines in Poland as Phase II Launch Falls Somewhat Flat

On Friday, Apple's iPhone went on sale in 21 other countries, including India and Poland as iPhone 3G Rollout Phase II began. While demand for the iPhone 3G has been loud and clear in many countries so far (unlike 3G service on the device), the iPhone isn't quite such a hot commodity in the newly launched set countries.

For one, Telekomunikacja Polska (TP), which France Telecom (whose wireless division is Orange) has a controlling stake in, has admitted it used actors to form fake lines, trying to make people believe that demand for the iPhone was higher than it actually was (see above).

TP spokesman Wojciech Jabczynski said:
"It was a marketing move. We thought it was a pretty interesting strategy. The aim was to attract attention. The people in the queues told passers-by about the iPhone."
France Telecom commented similarly:
"The aim was to draw people's attention to the product, and to make some buzz around it."
T-Mobile also sells the iPhone in Poland, and it didn't try the same stunt. Thus, it had no lines outside its stores.

Meanwhile, in India, lines were also non-existent, with the price of the iPhone ranging from $702 for the 8 GB model and $830 for the 16 GB model, as neither Vodafone nor Airtel will subsidize the phone in India --- and there's no 3G in India, to make matters worse.

You can't discount the 3G and application crash complaints as having some effect on sales as well.

But how successful will the iPhone be in emerging markets? Motorola was unable to dent Nokia's share in these markets. For example, in India Nokia has a 55% share of the market and competition from Apple in the high-end segment will do little to change things.

Nokia dominates many markets in Europe and Asia, and the E71 has received great reviews, with some saying that for its target audience, it is a far better phone than the iPhone.

So, Apple has its work cut out for it. Can it do it? Well, first things first: fix the 3G!



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