Globe, Smart war looms over iPhone


THE country’s leading telecom giants, Globe Telecom and Smart Communications, are in a tight battle again, this time over this year’s hottest gadget, the iPhone 4S.

Starting tomorrow, Friday, Globe and Smart subscribers can start availing themselves of the iPhone.

Globe was the exclusive dealer of iPhone for three years since 2008. Smart got the dealership license for the new model in October.

The war is expected in pricing. Neither Globe nor Smart wants to reveal its prices. Obviously, one is feeling its way on the other. One will try to outsmart or outsell the other by offering a lower price.

Globe, sole distributor of iPhone 3G and 4 since 2008, said that their orders before Friday have reached "record levels".

Globe started accepting pre-orders for both online and from walk-in customers last December 1, and an insider said that orders have reached "thousands".

Peter Bithos, senior adviser for Consumer Business at Globe Telecom, said that their pre-orders for iPhone 4S have already outpaced the volume of orders when Globe launched the iPhone 4 last year.

"Globe is one of the first in Asia to carry iPhone from the very start," Bithos said. "we know iPhone from inside-out, we’ve had years to study the habits and patterns of our customers who use iPhone and we have great offers that combine mobile browsing with SMS and calls that really the power of iPhone 4S."

Globe has a total mobile subscriber base of 29 million, 60 percent of which are using Internet-enabled phones. Some 1 to 2 million subscribers use smartphones, which include iPhone.

Smart, the country’s leading telecom provider with more than 60 million mobile phone subscribers, said that its pre-orders had reached "tens of thousands" as of yesterday since it started taking orders on December 2.

Both will have a major launch tonight, the highlight of which will be the release of the pricing and available bundles.

Some say that Globe may bundle the iPhone 4S with the iPad, also exclusively distributed by Globe.

Others say that since Smart is a new entrant in selling the iPhone, it may offer the product in a lower-priced bundle.

But the number of available units is also in question.

An industry insider said that Globe was able to procure "around 30,000 units" while Smart has on hand only "around 20,000 units."

The battle has reached even social networking sites, with Filipinos asking Globe and Smart to release their price packages so they could decide whether they will switch telcos or not.

And just like when it was launched in the US last October, the Philippine launch was also full of controversies, mostly centering on the telcos’ shipments.

Both denied the rumors, saying that they have the units already in their possession.

The Philippines is part of the third batch of countries that are releasing the iPhone 4s along with Brazil, Russia, Chile, Malaysia, South Africa, Saudi Arabia, Thailand, Turkey and Taiwan.

The iPhone 4s is packed with incredible new features including Apple’s dual-core A5 chip for blazing fast performance and stunning graphics; an all new camera with advanced optics; full 1080p HD resolution video recording; and Siri, an intelligent assistant that helps you get things done just by asking. iPhone 4s has a reworked cellular architecture complete with dual-mode HSPA+ and CDMA2000 compatibility, making it a world-phone device.

Apple sold 4 million iPhone 4s phones in the first three days after its release, which made it not only the best iPhone launch in Apple’s history, but the most-successful launch of any mobile phone ever.

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