updated 10:00 am EDT, Thu March 20, 2008
iPhone in Singapore?
The iPhone will launch in Singapore in September, according to unconfirmed reports. Local broadcaster Channel News Asia claims that a deal has been signed with Singapore Telecommunications, also known as SingTel; while Channel News cites industry sources, SingTel has declined to comment, and Apple has not made any announcements. Such a deal could make Singapore the first country in Asia to carry the iPhone, ahead of more prominent targets such as Japan, Thailand or even China. Singapore is a city-state, with approximately 4.6 million inhabitants.
For SingTel, the deal would only be modestly beneficial, claims the brokerage firm DBS Vickers. "Given iPhone's [appeal], we believe iPhone would lead to higher market share for SingTel," the firm writes. "However, the impact on SingTel's bottom line should not be very significant given Apple's hard bargaining tendency and tough competition from [rival carrier] StarHub." Apple is known to insist on revenue-sharing agreements with carriers, something that bleeds their income and is not asked for by any other phone maker.
DBS estimates that Singaporeans have already bought some 10,000 foreign iPhones to unlock, paying as much as $1,000 SGD ($719 US) for the luxury.