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S’pore telcos prepare for arrival of iPhone X

S’pore telcos prepare for arrival of iPhone X
Apple's premium iPhone X will be priced at S$1,648. Photo: AP

S’pore telcos prepare for arrival of iPhone X

SINGAPORE — Local telcos SingTel, StarHub and M1 are already accepting registrations of interest for the latest slate of offerings from tech giant Apple, while still firming up their pricing for packages that bundle the newest handphones to their subscription plans.

Apple on Tuesday (Sept 12) launched its premium iPhone X which will be priced at S$1,648, with the iPhone 8 Plus to retail at S$1,308 and the iPhone 8 at S$1,148.  However, the phones will only be available for pre-order from next week.

M1 said it will offer Apple’s latest products including the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus, Apple Watch Series 3 (GPS) and Apple TV 4K starting next Friday.

Encouraging customers to submit quick registrations of interest, a StarHub spokesperson said: “We will close registration within the next few days so as to ensure a smooth appointment booking experience for customers.”

Analysts said the telecom operators are likely to give higher subsidies to lock customers in over the next few years. Meanwhile, consumers in Singapore told TODAY they are taking a wait-and-see approach, given the high price tags.

“I won’t pre-order. I’m going to go feel it out first. On price, I’ll need a telco to subsidise me,” said Mr Gavin Yeow, 29, who works in a technology consulting firm.

Simei resident Lynette Tan, 24, said she will not be pre-ordering given the “hefty price tag”, and plans to wait to see how other users review the new models before deciding.

IT consultant Anchal Vibhuti highlighted that the new Android phones also pack in almost an equal punch at more affordable rates.

Mr Mark Jansen, technology, media and telecommunications leader for PwC Singapore, said of the new iPhones: “From a pure customer standpoint price sticks out, it is a lot to spend.”

However, he noted that there is potential pent-up demand from users of iPhone 6 and below.

Mr Eugene Chua, investment analyst at OCBC Investment Research highlighted that in an increasingly competitive landscape, subsidies given by the telcos may be higher this time round due to the pressure to secure more customers on new contracts before TPG and MyRepublic launch mobile services.

With the Samsung Galaxy Note 8 and the new iPhone models launching during this period, Mr Chua said equipment sales will likely increase in the final quarter of this year and the first quarter of next year.

“The ability to retain customers will really depend on service quality, bundling options and attractiveness of the plans’ pricing,” he added.

Apple also unveiled its new Apple Watch Series 3 with cellular capabilities and upgraded Apple TV which is able to stream in 4K resolution.

It has twice the vertical and horizontal resolution of older high-definition TVs.