Business

Telcos expect brisk iPhone
5 sales on high demand

Major telecommunication operators are expecting brisk sales of the iPhone 5, the latest smartphone by Apple considered a “premium” product on the local market, which will go on sale in Indonesia as well as globally on Dec. 14.

“We will be offering the iPhone 5 at several sales points, including two 7-Eleven convenience stores in Teluk Betung and Bintaro at midnight,” said Erik Meijer, the chief commercial officer of PT Indosat (ISAT), on Wednesday.

Indosat, the latest among three telecommunication providers to distribute iPhones in Indonesia,
aims to sell 1,000 units of the new iPhone during the launch, with 250 units being sold during the
pre-order period that ended on Wednesday.

Erik said that the mobile phone operator had placed orders for 1,300 iPhone 5 to restock its inventory next week. Sales could reach up to 100,000 units in six months, he estimated.

Indosat, under various pre- and post-paid bundling schemes, has price the smartphones between
Rp 3.5 million (US$363.45) to Rp 10.8 million.

Meijer said Apple had focused strongly on Indonesia given the size of its market and its people’s growing purchasing power, although the Cupertino-based company still received a majority of it revenues from the Western market.

A study by McKinsey shows that by 2030, as many as 90 million people would have entered the consumer class by earning above $3,600 in annual net income. This class will provide business opportunities carrying a value of $1.8 trillion.

Indonesia’s biggest telecommunication provider and the first to distribute iPhones in Indonesia, PT Telekomunikasi Selular (Telkomsel), sold all 2,000 units allocated for the pre-order period, which also ended on Wednesday.

Lesmana Nirwan, the head of postpaid and broadband marketing communication, said that the higher priced models of the iPhone 5 — the 32 gigabyte version and 64 gigabyte version — sold faster than the cheaper 16 gigabyte version.

Telkomsel’s offering price of the iPhone 5 ranges from Rp 1.3 million to Rp 7.6 million, depending on the amount of monthly fees to be paid under a variety of available bundling schemes.

Lesmana added that the mobile phone operator expected brisk iPhone 5 sales, considering how fanatic some people were about the brand, and the propensity for Indonesians to purchase premium smartphones. “The condition of our macro-economy has also enabled people to buy such smartphones,” he said.

PT XL Axiata (EXCL) marketing director Joy Wahjudi added that the company was interested in collaborating with Apple given that its smartphones were iconic.

“The iPhone has revolutionized the smartphone market,” he said.

XL Axiata has priced the iPhone 5 at between Rp 499,000 to Rp 10 million, depending on the bundling scheme. Under certain schemes, a user could incur Rp 658,900 in monthly fees for 12 months.

Quoting data from research firm GfK, iPhones hold 1 percent of the Indonesian smartphone market, with BlackBerry maker Research in Motion (RIM) controlling 53 percent of the market.

However, iPhones generate higher average revenue per user (ARPU) compared to other mobile phone devices, given the strong data consumption by these devices by Apple.

“iPhones can generate 10 times the ARPU of other mobile phones, which is currently around Rp 30,000,” he said.

—JP/ Mariel Grazella

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