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European iPhone discounts softened, built-in SIM plan blamed

updated 05:30 pm EST, Thu December 2, 2010

Euro iPhone discounts may have gone in SIM dispute

Apple's rumored fight over embedded iPhone SIMs may have cost it valuable carrier discounts. Sanford Bernstein analyst Robin Bienenstock noted that subsidies in larger European countries had been reduced by 40 to 150 euros ($53 to $198). The carriers had also pulled promo graphics from their main pages, the analyst said, suggesting they may have been reluctant to keep giving the phone its full attention.

Bienenstock speculated that the American company may have pressed too hard in trying to get deals while also implementing an embedded SIM. While Apple purportedly backed off, the networks may have panicked and raised the effective end-user prices. The analyst predicted that the iPhone 5 might be deemphasized in mid-2011 in favor of the usual promotions for multiple smartphone platforms, such as Android and Windows Phone 7, at the same time.

It's unclear how accurate the claims might be. A cursory check by Electronista still showed heavily subsidized prices at Orange, T-Mobile and Vodafone in France, Germany and the UK, with most sites showing the iPhone clearly if not prominently on the front page.

Any retaliation might also be short-lived. A GSMA embedded SIM proposal could make the feature common worldwide as soon as 2012. Carriers, including a handful of European ones, have been working on the concept to make activation easier and in many cases let customers start service without having to ever call or visit the provider. [via Barron's]

by MacNN Staff



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