Tuesday, 06 May 2008 17:13

iPhone Vodafone announcement has broken Apple's exclusive carrier model

Everyone gather round, do a square dance and jiggle your hands in the air with joy. Apple's ridiculous exclusive carrier arrangement for iPhone is now history. How do I know this? Well Apple has just signed an iPhone deal with Vodafone.

For those of you who don't already know, Vodafone is the second biggest mobile phone network operator in the world, and the biggest outside of China. Vodafone has just announced the signing of a 10 country iPhone deal with Apple, which includes Australia.

However, while Vodafone may be a big deal on the global scale, in Australia it's a relative minnow with just 16% market share. The two biggest players, Telstra (42.5% share) and Optus (32% share), far outstrip Vodafone in both customer base and network coverage.

Thus, only a fool would believe that Apple would throw in its lot with the distant number three player in a market that's literally itching to get its hands on Apple's hottest new product.

With nearly 75% of the 20 million a year plus Australian mobile handset market between them, Telstra and Optus are in a much stronger position to screw a better deal out of Apple than any other players, including Vodafone. Both of them, Telstra in particular, have more extensive and wider reaching networks than Vodafone.

Italy and perhaps India aside, Australia is by far the biggest potential iPhone customer named in the Vodafone deal. It would be very surprising indeed if Apple deliberately cut itself off from more than 80% of the Australian market, including the two biggest players by going with an exclusive Vodafone deal.

Look for iPhone announcements from both Telstra and Optus in the near future; exclsuive carrier arrangements are a thing of the past for Apple.


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Stan Beer


Stan Beer co-founded iTWire in 2005. With 30 plus years of experience working in IT and Australian technology media, Beer has published articles in most of the IT publications that have mattered, including the AFR, The Australian, SMH, The Age, as well as a multitude of trade publications.



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