updated 05:00 pm EST, Mon December 7, 2009
Device long delayed
Beginning at midnight Wednesday local time, Israelis will at last be able to buy the iPhone, Reuters reports. Cellcom will be the first carrier with the device, though it is set to be followed by Orange and Pelephone on Thursday. In contrast with some earlier reports, each of the carriers is being required to buy just 80,000 iPhones for resale rather than 100,000.
Israel has a cellphone penetration of 125 percent, one of the highest in the world. Haim Israel -- an analyst with Bank of America Merrill Lynch -- therefore argues that the carriers will likely buy more iPhones, and moreover boost their average revenue per user (ARPU) by 30 percent. The average payback period may be about 13 months, the analyst observes.
A simultaneous multi-carrier debut may not be advantageous to the public, as it is unlikely to foster a price war. Israelis have nevertheless been waiting some time for the iPhone, given that deals were ready months prior, and the iPhone is now in its third incarnation. An Israeli release date has been twice delayed.