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iPhone launch surpasses expectations – Supachai

picture-38By: POST REPORTERS

Published: 26/01/2009 at 12:00 AM

Newspaper section: Business

7519-1The official launch of Apple’s iconic iPhone 3G in Thailand has met with a response “beyond expectations”, said True Move chief executive Supachai Chearavanont.

The smartphone epitomises True’s vision of convergence, according to Mr Supachai.

He declined to offer sales figures, citing confidentiality agreements with Apple. But the mobile operator’s launch of the iPhone at Siam Paragon on Jan 16 attracted more than 5,000 customers, some of whom waited until nearly 4 am to receive the famed touchscreen smartphone.

Mr Supachai acknowledged that True Move had underestimated demand for the phone, resulting in long queues of both pre-registered and walk-in customers on the launch date.

But he said True Move had made improvements in its handling the registration process, and that customers were generally happy to receive the device. Delivery times during the launch were on par with those in other markets around the world.

 

Mr. Suphakit Vuntanadit (middle), Chief Commercial Officer, True Move Co., Ltd. teamed up with Mr. Chumphon Ruangvivajarus (right), Deputy Director, Business Customer Solution I, True Corporation Plc., to announce the “Business SIM from TrueMove”

Mr. Suphakit Vuntanadit (middle), Chief Commercial Officer, True Move Co., Ltd. teamed up with Mr. Chumphon Ruangvivajarus (right), Deputy Director, Business Customer Solution I, True Corporation Plc., to announce the “Business SIM from TrueMove”

“We [True Move and Apple] are satisfied with the market response,” Mr Supachai said.

 

Apple’s iPhone is the most popular smartphone in the world, thanks to its innovative touchscreen display, Mac OS X software system and thousands of new applications developed for the device.

imagehandlerashxGrey-market iPhones have been available in Thailand for months, but must be “hacked” for use with local operators and lack access to Apple’s online App Store.

True Move is offering four subscription packages for iPhone buyers.

Buyers can pay an upfront fee of 6,999 baht and a subscription of 1,199 baht per month for 24 months for a basic package for the 8-gigabyte device, or a one-time fee of 10,499 baht and 1,199 baht per month for the 16GB device.

thai-map-165-1The top platinum offering is priced with no upfront fee and a monthly subscription price of 1,999 baht for the 8GB phone or 2,099 baht for the 16GB phone, and includes unlimited 3G and WiFi services on True’s networks.

Mr Supachai said the iPhone 3G was a device that epitomised True’s own vision of convergence, where mobile telephony, the Internet and multimedia content blended together to serve today’s digital lifestyle.

True Move is rolling out a 3G next-generation network to help meet demand for faster communications services. In any case, the iPhone automatically will use faster WiFi when in range of a hotspot, and switch to 3G networks when necessary.

“We hope that the 3G iPhone will help ignite our True convergence concept, which encompasses lifestyle services, content, high-speed broadband internet and WiFi,” Mr Supachai said.

True Move pre-installs 12 customised applications on each iPhone, including services to access stock quotes, music videos and e-commerce shopping.

http://www.truemove.com/iphone/tha/price_plan.htm

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customers-in-queUpdate – Jan 16, 2008: iPhone launched in Thailand on January 16th via TrueMove. Photo (below) shows the official launch of the TrueMove iPhone 3G in Thailand, which took place at Royal Paragon Hall. A throng of iPhone fans queue up to receive their iPhone 3G. Interested customers can register for the iPhone 3G at http://www.truemove.com 



iPhonAsia comment: See iPhonAsia post > True sees Wi-Fi as key to iPhone sales

truemoveThai True Move to sell 3G iPhone … other Thai carriers to follow

 

 

Thailand’s AIS fails to reach deal with Apple on iPhone

Via MacDailyNewsFriday, January 09, 2009 – 09:09 AM EST

 

iphone-thailandpicture-12“Advanced Info Service, Thailand’s largest mobile phoneoperator, said on Friday it had failed to reach agreement with Apple Inc. to offer the 3G iPhone in the Thai market,” Pisit Changplayngam reports for Reuters. “‘We don’t accept Apple’s proposal to bring iPhone to the Thai market because we don’t think it will be good for us in terms of business,’ Chief Executive Vikrom Sriprataks told reporters.”

MacDailyNews Take: Presumably, Sriprataks flunked out of the same business school as Verizon Wireless’ former CEO Denny Strigl who also failed to see the merits of the Apple iPhone. Merits such as:

• Apple iPhone mobile Web market share surpasses RIM BlackBerry and Windows Mobile combined - January 08, 2009
• Analyst: AT&T defies economic slump thanks to Apple iPhone, tempts people to spend - December 04, 2008
• ChangeWave: Apple iPhone now #2 in U.S. corporate market share - November 20, 2008
• J.D. Power: Apple iPhone ranks highest in business wireless smartphone customer satisfaction - November 06, 2008
• Apple iPhone boosts AT&T’s wireless business - October 22, 2008
• Apple iPhone continues to exceed AT&T’s expectations - October 20, 2008
• Apple increases its lead in teenage mindshare; 30% plan iPhone purchase within 6 months - October 08, 2008
• NPD: Apple iPhone 3G is #1 smartphone in U.S.; AT&T big beneficiary - October 06, 2008
• Apple iPhone already leads Windows Mobile in North American market share, Q3 2007 - December 14, 2007
• Survey: Apple iPhone nabs unprecedented 92% satisfaction rating - August 16, 2007
• AT&T reports solid Q208 results highlighted by strong wireless growth, Apple iPhone 3G launch - July 23, 2008

Changplayngam continues, “AIS’s smaller rival, True Move PCL, a unit of True Corp, plans to launch the 3G iPhone in Thailand from Jan. 16, making it the first operator to sell the new phone in the fast-growing market. AIS, partly owned by Singapore Telecommunications Ltd., was willing to renegotiate with Apple if the U.S. firm offered a new proposal, Vikrom said.”

MacDailyNews Take: Apple will probably offer a new proposal — after AIS feels some pain — and it won’t be more beneficial to AIS, you can bet on that.

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iPhone in Thailand

Update: Jan 3rd 2009 True sees Wi-Fi as key to iPhone sales

By Srisamorn Phoosuphanusorn, Bangkok Post
Friday, January 02, 2009 09:19 AM

 

logoTrue Move is touting the strength of its nationwide Wi-Fi coverage as the main focus in promoting the first authorized iPhone 3G handsets when they finally reach the Thai market this month.

Aspiring owners of the iPhone 3Gare being offered a package from True Move with monthly payments over two years totalling 33,576 baht (US$967). The figure includes the cost of the hand set plus a basic calling, SM Sand Wi-Fi service package.

The country’s third-largest mobile operator recently signed an agreement with Apple to become the first operator to sell the iPhone 3G in Thailand. The iconic product, compatible with third-generation Internet wireless connectivity, is now available for booking online by True customers, with the first models to be delivered at a launch party at Siam Paragon from Jan 16 to 18.

Suphakit Vuntanadit, director of marketing and customer experience management of True Move, said his company would highlight its mobile Internet convergence services, which integrate fixed-broadband Wi-Fi on top of existing Edge and General Packet Radio Access (GPRS) systems, as the main selling point of the new product.

“Given our position as a leading Wi-Fi service provider, we believe that Wi-Fi will be a magnet for iPhone,” he said.

Mr Suphakit declined to provide more details, citing the confidentiality of its contract with Apple.

True Move is offering a series of promotional tariff packages together with the subsidized handset, which can be paid in interest-free installments. Starting from a monthly payment of 1,399 baht (US$40) for 24 months (33,576 baht (US$967) total), the package would include phone calls, SMS and data downloading over Wi-Fi.

True Move recently introduced an unlimited Internet access campaign through Wi-Fi, Edge and GPRS nationwide for 20 baht (US$0.60)a day or 450 baht (US$13) a month. Customers can also choose Edge and GPRS services for 10 baht (US$0.30) a day or 250 baht (US$7.20) a month while postpaid subscribers can choose unlimited calls and online services for 299 baht (US$8.64) per month.

The True group currently has 50,000 Wi-Fi users with its 16,000 Wi-Fi locations in 52 provinces while True Move has two million Edge and GPRS users.

True Move is on course to launch 3G service in the second quarter of 2009, according to CEO Supachai Chearavanont. He believes 3G will be a turning point for the local industry and offer a great business opportunity to enhance True’s convergence business model.

Mr Suphakit also said local mobile market growth was expected to be driven by non-voice services over the existing 2G and 3G networks.

A telecom industry source said that market leader AIS and second-ranked DTAC were also in talks with Apple to offer the smartphone locally.

He said that Apple had asked AIS to sell 400,000 units within three years, compared with 300,000 each over three years for DTAC and True.

Shares of True Corp closed on Tuesday on the Stock Exchange of Thailand at 1.79 baht (US$0.05), down nine satang, in trade worth 23.42 million baht (US$674,000).

Update: BANGKOK, Dec 24 (Reuters) – True Move PCL, Thailand’s third largest mobile phone firm, said on Wednesday it planned to sell Apple Inc’s (AAPL.O) 3G iPhone in Thailand from Jan. 16, a key driver which should boost revenue next year.

The deal will make True Move, a subsidiary of True Corp TRUE.BK, the first operator to sell the new phone in the fast-growing Thai market.

True Move will sell the 8GB model for an upfront payment of 6,999 baht ($202) and monthly fees of 1,199 baht. Customers are required to use True Move services for at least 24 months, it said in a statement.

Thailand’s top mobile phone operator Advanced Info Service (AIS) ADVA.BK has said it was also in talks with Apple about selling the iPhone.

Thai True Move to sell 3G iPhone … other Thai carriers to follow

 

Courtesy Reuters

By Khettiya Jittapong

 

picture-5truemoveEXCERPT:  BANGKOK, Nov 13 (Reuters) – Thailand’s third-largest mobile phone firm, True Move, said on Thursday it had signed a deal with Apple Inc (AAPL) to sell the 3G iPhone in Thailand.

The deal could make True Move, a subsidiary of True Corp TRUE.BK, the first operator to sell the new phone in the fast-growing Thai market. Bigger rival Advanced Info Service ADVA.BK says it is still talking with Apple about iPhone.

iphone-thailand“True Move has signed an agreement with Apple to bring the iPhone 3G to Thailand in the coming months,” True Move said in a statement. It gave no precise date.

A senior official at True Corp, which owns 75.26 percent of True Move, said True Move would work with Apple on the launch of the sleek smartphone, which offers faster Internet access and improved email features.

Thailand is still in the testing stage for 3G networks, but 3G iPhone users can surf the Internet via existing EDGE or GPRS networks, a 2.5 generation mobile technology.

Apple rolled out the iPhone in more than 20 countries in July and has set a target of selling 10 million iPhones this year.

Thailand’s largest mobile phone operator, Advanced Info Service (AIS) ADVA.BK, said the Apple deal with True Move was not exclusive.

“Apple is talking with every operator, including us and DTAC. When will we sell iPhone? It depends on when we can reach a deal with Apple on terms and conditions,” Somchai Lertsuttiwong, AIS’s executive vice president for marketing, told Reuters.

Full post > HERE

More details via Macsimum News > HERE

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The SingTel Group launch will involve seven different carriers in as many nations and bring iPhone to a subscriber base of 136 million.  Apple conveniently has a major campus in Singapore.

 

via TUAW

In a singularly uninformative press release, SingTel, Singapore’s largest telecommunications company, has announced that it is bringing the iPhone to “Singapore, India, the Philippines and Australia later this year” through several subsidiary carrier brands: SingTel, Bharti Airtel, Globe and Optus. 

iPhonAsia Comment: For those who follow iPhonAsia regularly, you will know that we have been reporting on the rumored Apple and SingTel partnership for months.  Here are a few links to relevant articles posted on iPhonAsia >

SingTel to bring iPhone to Pacific Rim?

SingTel to bring iPhone to Singapore

Optus and Vodafone in Australia?

Optus as Australia’s iPhone carrier?

iPhone in Australia: Apple and Telstra? Don’t bet on it!

iPhone Coming to Australia

Engadget Reports the AIS iPhone in Thailand Rumors

 

 

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     neonsign1.jpg  10-15-07-iphone.jpg  

Message Board Thread re China Mobile announcing support for Long Term Evolution (LTE) 4G protocol and forthcoming iPhone launch in China.

[idannyb reply] Re: Maybe there never will be a 3G phone….

<< An iPhone launch in China in “early 09″ would be another example of Apple’s failed international rollout. Very disappointing!!!!!!

 (name withheld) >>

(To: name withheld) … It is just my guess that China will come in late 2008 or early 2009.  Apple could surprise us all and announce an agreement this Summer with a China distribution partner … but my tealeaf reading suggests China will come after many other key nations are announced.  I think there will be plenty of excitement over the Pacific Rim group of nations in the Sinapore Telecommunications consortium … that group will include Australia (See nations below).  Japan will also be a key nation for iPhone.  Looks like it will be a partnership with NTT DoCoMo in Japan.  Again … IMO China will come later followed quickly by Taiwan. 

There are also quite a number of nations in Europe who will get iPhone later this year.  While China is important, better that Apple make the right deal with the right partner at the right time vs. capitulating to China Mobile and building TD-SCDMA support into the next-gen iPhone when that protocol may become an expensive prehensile tail.  Better also to make a deal with the TBA carrier that wins China rights to build out the W-CDMA 3G network.  

Apple does have another alternative in China  … that being to go formally (official launch) with a major China handset distributor (e.g. D-Phone or Shenzhen Aisidiwithout a carrier/partner. This would be a significant deviation from Apple’s current iPhone business (revenue sharing) model and it is therefore a lesser possibility.  If Apple makes this move, they would want to sow up carrier agreements with the rest of the world before announcing such a plan in China.  Bottom line…. it’s all just guesswork and anything could happen.    

SingTel to bring iPhone to Pacific Rim?

Singapore Telecommunications (SingTel) may be using its holdings and control of regional telecom companies to win a contract with Apple and coordinate a multi-nation Apple iPhone launch.  The launch could involve seven different carriers in as many nations and bring iPhone to a subscriber base of 136 million.  Apple conveniently has a major campus in Singapore. 

The Thai Daily, Bangkok Post and Australian IT are reporting that Singapore Telecommunications (SingTel) is in talks with Apple on a coordinated iPhone distribution plan throughout the Pacific Rim. SingTel is in a position to aid with logistics and planning.  Australia’s Optus is a wholly owned subsidiary of SingTel and the Singapore carrier has significant holdings in telecom companies throughout the region.  SingTel website reports the group’s major telecom investments include:

·      AIS in Thailand (21% owned by SingTel)

·      Optus in Australia (wholly owned by SingTel)

·      Bharti Telecom Group in India


·      Globe Telecom in the Philippines


·      Pacific Bangladesh Telecom (PBTL) in Bangladesh


·      Telkomsel in Indonesia


·      Warid Telecom in Pakistan

In combination, the companies above have more than 136 million mobile customers.  This is the largest mobile customer base in Asia outside of China. 

~ Idannyb

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[idannyb reply] re: Maybe there never will be a 3G phone….

Very interesting (To: name withheld) … Thanks for posting.

Makes sense to me.  I posted an article on Feb 1st re the dimming prospects for China’s home-grown TD-SCDMA 3G  

link > Rumor: China’s TD-SCDMA 3G may not be an eternal flame

It’s becoming more apparent to me that China is exploring alternatives to their “China only” 3G protocol.  It’s also clear in listening/reading some of Duncan Clark’s (a well-informed China-based consultant) writings and podcasts, that China is realizing the mistake of being overly paternalistic in building out their own technology platforms vs adopting world standards. 

It was no mistake (IMO) that a story was leaked to the press several weeks back identifying numerous problems with TD-SCDMA 3G.  

There are many changes in the works in China’s telecom industry.  There is a possibility that China Telecom will be allowed to acquire China Unicom’s CDMA mobile network and gain a 3G license.  The China Ministry of Information Industry (MII) appears to be setting up some legitimate competition for mobile customers in China … There is a decent chance that a newly structured  China Unicom/Netcom will win the rights to build out W-CDMA 3G (China Mobile wants the W-CDMA rights too, and this could be a contentious battle).  W-CDMA is the most ubiquitous European 3G standard and it is the big prize if TD-SCDMA fails to deliver.  

If China Unicom wins the rights to build out W-CDMA, then China Mobile may be looking to “one up” China Unicom … and no better way than to tell the world that they are leapfrogging W-CDMA with the new Long Term Evolution (LTE) 4G protocol.  

Given the internal China dynamics/politics over 3G protoocols, I see Apple moving with the rest of the Pacific Rim before engaging in serious negotiations with China.  That said, I do believe polite discussions with potential partners are and will be ongoing and I do expect a formal iPhone launch in China in late 2008 or more likely in early 2009.  

3g-timeline2.png

image courtesy BDA  http://www.bdaconnect.com:80/   

 

I would be very interested to learn how many 3G standards the new (under cloak) Apple iPhone will support. I’d bet iPhone’s chipset will handle several “world standard” 3G protocols and possibly WiMax … I would also bet that TD-SCDMA might not be one of them given its “iffy” future.  

It was also interesting that ZTE (China OEM) announced their new femtocell base-station yesterday in Barcelona … This femtocell currently has simultaneous GSM and WCDMA support, and can be modified to to support CDMA and WiMAX in the future.  ZTE said this device can also support the development of “long term evolution” (LTE) 4G technology.

Again, this supports the thesis that China is not betting everything on TD-SCDMA.  China may be modifying their “indigenous innovation” stance and pragmatically moving to world standards … good move!

~ Idannyb

ð ð ð ð ð ð ð ð ð ð ð ð ð ð ð ð ð ð ð ð ð

[initial post] Maybe there never will be a 3G phone….

Financial Times reports China Mobile (CHL) is on Wednesday expected to lend its support to LTE, the wireless broadband standard that looks set to become the flagship 4G technology. LTE, or Long Term Evolution, is gaining strong momentum as the next generation wireless technology to provide super-fast web surfing on mobiles. Arun Sarin, Vodafone’s (VOD) chief executive, said on Tuesday that the UK group would join China Mobile and Verizon Wireless (VZ), the second-largest US mobile operator, to promote LTE. He said LTE was getting a “pretty good push”. “LTE, on the back of Vodafone, Verizon and China Mobile saying we are going there, is a pretty clear direction in terms of where the industry is heading,” he added. It suggests LTE will emerge as the leading 4G technology, rather than WiMax or Ultra Mobile Broadband, which are the main alternatives. Mr Sarin said WiMax should be harmonised with LTE, adding that Vodafone is planning to roll out 4G networks from 2010. People familiar with the situation said China Mobile, the world’s largest mobile operator by number of customers and market capitalisation, would on Wednesday lend its support to LTE. They added it was unclear whether China Mobile would also support the case for a distinct Chinese 4G technology. Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo, chief executive of Nokia (NOK), the world’s largest handset maker, said: “I see LTE as being the main fourth-generation technology.” However, he said WiMax would be more than a niche alternative to LTE, adding there would be a diversity of 2G, 3G and 4G technologies used by mobile operators. Alcatel-Lucent (ALU), the Franco-American telecoms equipment maker, and NEC, the Japanese electronics group, on Tuesday announced a joint venture under which they will pool research and development on LTE. Patricia Russo, Alcatel-Lucent chief executive, denied it was a cost-cutting exercise for the equipment maker, which last week reported a €2.6 bln ($3.8 bln) net loss for the fourth quarter. She said the joint venture would accelerate deployment of LTE technology, due to be launched in Japan next year.

~ (name withheld)

 

 

 

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    iphone-thailand.jpg ais.gif 

Engadget has an article today noting that Thai mobile carrier Advanced Information Systems (AIS) is in talks with Apple.  AIS is 21% owned by Singapore Telecommunications (SingTel). As previously reported on this blog, SingTel is rumored to be working with Apple on a Pacific RIM iPhone distribution plan 

singtel_b.jpg 

EXCERPT: AIS says that negotiations are well underway with revenue sharing details being a large part of the discussion (surprise, surprise). AIS holds a commanding 50 percent of the Thai market, so if Apple were to launch there, that particular carrier certainly seems like the right one to go after.

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