Thursday, June 12, 2008

BPN 1126 Will the Apple magic work in Europe with iPhone 3G?

On July 11, 2008 the Apple magic will have to work in Europe. On that date Apple introduces the iPhone 3G in Europe. AS sales strategy it has selected two European telecom operators, T-Telecom and Orange, to take care of the introduction. Question is: will the iPhone 3G become a runaway success. Can this version of iPhone seduce the European user? Where can they get them? Is the price okay? Or will the sales people of T-Mobile and Orange have to go to the beach to push their phoneware/wear?

Apple has divided Europe into two parts: the T-Mobile sphere and the Orange sphere. T-Mobile start distributing the iPhone in Austria, Germany and the Netherlands on July 11th and later on this year in Croatia, Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia. Orange will launch the iPhone on July 11 Austria, Portugal and Switzerland, in France on July 17 and in the Dominican Republic, Egypt, Jordan, Luxembourg, Belgium, Poland, Romania, Slovakia and Orange's African markets later this year.

The geographical division in Europe is interesting. Mid-Europe and the Mediterranean are have been covered, but it looks like the UK and Ireland will have a separate deal as well as the Scandinavian countries. Although it looks like there is sales exclusivity for the telecom operators in large countries, for countries like Austria, Poland and Slovakia both operators can sport the iPhone. In The Netherlands T-Mobile will sell the iPhone, while incumbent telco KPN also wanted to sell the iPhone, despite the dislike of its boss, Ad Scheepbouwer.

The iPhone has been readied for the European mobile market, which differs drastically from the US market. Orange will use its network which is a combination of widespread EDGE, Wi-Fi, 3G and HSDPA networks. iPhone 3G combines all the revolutionary features of iPhone with 3G networking that is twice as fast* as the first generation iPhone, built-in GPS for expanded location based mobile services, and iPhone 2.0 software which includes support for Microsoft Exchange ActiveSync and runs the hundreds of third party applications already built with the recently released iPhone SDK.

As a price 199 US dollar has been set. In present European currency this roughly would mean 120,00 euro. Question is of course, what kind of exchange rate the companies will choose. In some countries also the subsidising principle, driving down the costs of the device might work. The price, being so cheap, might work.

The roll-out will start from July 11 onwards. In Europe this will mean holiday season with Dutch and Germans are going to Spain, the Mediterranean coast of France, Italy, Slovenia, Croatia and Greece in great numbers. Was this day picked purposely, so that the warehouses would not be empty in a day or two?

Will people buy it in Europe. The sale of the first version of the iPhone was not exactly a bomb, to put it mildly. So why should the Europeans fall for it now? Of course the iPhone 3G has been adapted to the European networks. The price has gone down dramatically. But will Apple be able to remove the impression that the first generation was not really super. The telecom operators T-Mobile and Orange will know soon after the roll-out. In the sale is not impressive after a few days, the telecom operators should keep an army of students, clad in telephone wear, at hand to scour and canvas the beaches.

Will I buy it? Not for the time being. I recently bought an HTC. Am I happy with it. No, but I am sick and tired of discovering all the procedures and the ways you have to work around features. Of course Apple will tell me that it has an intuitive interface. For the time being I am not ready for another device, regardless whether I can watch TV on it, listen to radio and music and read newspapers, magazines and movels. By the end of July I will phone up my friends on my HTC and do a survey on whether they have bought an iPhone or are going to buy one.

Update 20080614T-Mobile in The Netherlands expects many iPhone buyers. It says that 40.000 people requested the newsletter about iPhone in one week. The iPhone 3G will not deliver a percentage of the data traffic to Apple but a fixed fee.

Blog Posting Number: 1126


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