BUSINESS FOCUS SHORTS

Thousands buy an iPhone, some not for long

THE GLOBAL mobile hit, the iPhone, is also proving popular in Slovakia, though not quite as much as in other countries. About ten thousand Slovaks have bought the “intelligent” phone, which apart from voice calls also allows users to browse the web, listen to music, take pictures or watch TV, in a little more than a month since it was launched in the country, the Pravda daily wrote.

Hundreds of people queued to get one of the first iPhones in Slovakia.Hundreds of people queued to get one of the first iPhones in Slovakia. (Source: SITA)

THE GLOBAL mobile hit, the iPhone, is also proving popular in Slovakia, though not quite as much as in other countries. About ten thousand Slovaks have bought the “intelligent” phone, which apart from voice calls also allows users to browse the web, listen to music, take pictures or watch TV, in a little more than a month since it was launched in the country, the Pravda daily wrote.

Sources close to the biggest mobile operators in Slovakia - Orange and T-Mobile - confirmed this to the daily. Officially, they have declined to talk about the numbers sold.

The mobile, which has a touch-sensitive display, caused a sensation in Slovakia on August 21. Hundreds of people waited for it to officially go on sale at midnight. In the ensuing days, interest decreased and has since stabilised, though the mobile is still fashionable in its market segment.

However, the iPhone has scored more of a hit in other countries than in Slovakia. In the Czech Republic, which has almost double the population, about 27,000 iPhones were sold during the same period, the Lidové Noviny daily wrote.

In Slovakia, Pravda reported, dozens of buyers who tried the iPhone decided they didn’t like it. Having paid Sk16,000-Sk17,000 for the mobile they are now selling them on for just Sk10,000.

Mobile operators confess that the latest product from Apple is not proving such a hit as at its launch.

“After selling more than a thousand units a day to begin with, sales have stabilised and daily numbers have stayed about the same for a month,” T-Mobile spokesman Andrej Gargulák told Pravda. “In its price category, the iPhone is still a best-seller, however,” he added. Most people buy iPhones through a contract, i.e. by subscribing to a mobile operator's post–paid services for 24 months for a regular monthly fee.

“IPhone is bought mostly by fans, Apple supporters, who are loyal to the brand,” said Peter Tóth, a spokesman of Orange, another mobile operator.

For operators, it is more advantageous to sell the iPhone with post–paid contracts. In the beginning, the client covers a smaller part of the phone’s price, but then pays more than Sk1,000 per month for pre-paid calling time, and data allowances for browsing on the net. Customers who wanted to use pre-paid services, i.e. without a contract, have had to pay more for their iPhones. For example, this option increased the original price of the smallest-memory version, purchased from T-Mobile at the beginning of September by Sk1,000, to almost Sk17,000. Orange’s price for the same non-contract phone was also higher, at almost Sk16,000.


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