By: POST REPORTERS
Published: 26/01/2009 at 12:00 AM
Newspaper section: Business
The 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.
“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.
Grey-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.
The 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.