Sales of the prepay 3G iPhone have got off to a sluggish
start, leading to criticisms from some store staff that the price has been set
It comes after the iPhone was made available on prepay for
the first time last Tuesday (16 September). The device starts at £350 for the
8GB version and £400 for 16GB.
Staff at Carphone and O2 stores said that early uptake has
been slow, with some stores claiming they hadn’t sold their first 3G iPhone one
week after the device was made available.
O2 has stiff targets to reach from Apple, but is keen not to
price the device too low in a bid to deter box breakers.
However, staff Mobile spoke to said customers are still
choosing subsided iPhones on 18-month contracts, rather than paying for them
up-front on prepay.
One Carphone staffer said: ‘It’s been a disappointment. I
work in a store where footfall is around 350 people a day and we’ve sold none
yet. There is no box breaking on it this time. In a way it’s the opposite;
no-one is buying it.’
O2 staff also said that sales had got off to a slow start.
One said: ‘They aren’t selling but maybe around Christmas it will pick up.
Looking at the positive, the prepay price makes spending £99 for a contract
iPhone look very cheap. They are still selling really well on contracts.’
Some O2 staff countered the general perception and said
sales were performing well.
O2 has also taken its exclusive Apple device into the
business sector, pushing the 3G aspect for mobile email and applications in a
bid to sign up more customers.
An O2 spokesman said: ‘Sales are higher than expected;
customers love the interface and web-based applications. Demand among SMEs and
large corporates is very strong.’