Cell C is set to become the third mobile operator in SA to stock the iPhone. The company has begun taking pre-orders for the iPhone 4S, the latest iteration of Apple’s smartphone, on its website.
Until now, consumers interested in buying an iPhone have had to get it through either Vodacom or MTN. Cell C CEO Alan Knott-Craig tells TechCentral that the older iPhone 4 8GB model as well as the newer iPhone 4S 16GB, 32GB and 64GB models will be available through its stores and other direct sales channels as well as through Nashua Mobile and Altech Autopage Cellular from 15 July.
The company quietly began taking pre-orders through its website on 29 June.
It appears likely that Cell C will also carry the upcoming iPhone, possibly to be called the “new iPhone” or the “iPhone 5”. Apple is expected to announce the next-generation iPhone within the next three months.
Knott-Craig admits freely he is a fan of Apple and its former CEO, the late Steve Jobs, so it was probably inevitable that the company would lobby the US firm hard to get the iPhone on its network.
The iPhone 4 model will cost R6 599 on prepaid; prices for the other models are not immediately available though will be available on all of its “Straight Up” contract options, with “bonus data”.
Bringing the iPhone to Cell C could result in the operator securing more post-paid and business users. Despite being one of the most expensive handsets on the market, the iPhone has proved popular with SA consumers, so much so that both Vodacom and MTN have been struggling to keep up with demand.
Vodacom was the first SA operator to introduce the iPhone in SA, with the 3G version in 2008, with MTN following with the launch of the iPhone 4.
The first iPhone was launched in June 2007. Gartner research shows the company sold 33,1m iPhones in the first quarter of 2012, accounting for 7,9% of all mobile phone sales worldwide. That was up from 16,9m, or 3,9% of the market, a year earlier. — (c) 2012 NewsCentral Media