La Repubblica: Italian 3G iPhone Due in Few Weeks
TIM ( Telecom Italia Mobile ) has secured the right to sell the next generation iPhone without a contract and carrier lock, Stefano Carli reports for the prestigious Italian newspaper La Repubblica. There will be no revenue sharing nor carrier exclusivity, both of which Carli credits to the six month negotiations headed by TIM’s chief Franco Bernabè. Carli goes on to say that Jobs was ultimately convinced by Bernabè to abandon the successful US iPhone carrier model to one which would work best in the Italian market.
“The agreement is revolutionary because it signals a major change in the Apple strategy” writes Carli. He cites 3 major points in the agreement:
– the current generation iPhones will not be marketed in Italy, instead the new 3G handsets will be directly introduced,
– the agreement is not based on ‘revenue sharing’, instead each iPhone is marketed at a “higher price”,
– TIM is not given an exclusive carrier deal, but the right to sell the 3G handsets at least through summer ’08, after which Vodafone and 3 are the candidates most likely to bring the iPhone to Italy for next Christmas.
Carli then asks: “It’s a strange agreement at first site. TIM takes the iPhone home first and pays much less than the others before it. Why would Jobs accept all this?”. Carli reasons given that pre-paid voice plans are very popular in Italy, making huge profits from them would not be possible. Jobs’ primary objectives now seem to be promoting the Safari mobile browser to encourage the higher consumption of data and promoting content purchase from mobile iTunes rather than to sell fewer handset at the highest possible cost that come bundled with carrier exclusivity and fixed plans.