iPhone sales flatter to deceive on opening day

TN News

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Sales of the iPhone in Vietnam have gotten off to a tepid start with prices, including calling plans, putting off many customers.

Local wireless carriers Vinaphone and Viettel began selling the phone Friday, two months after announcing deals with Apple Inc.

As both companies had said their prices would be attractive, sales were expected to be strong on the first day the iPhone officially hit the local market.

But Pham Ngoc Tu, deputy sales manager at Vinaphone, first day sales met only around 40 percent of the target at a few more than 400.

The figure was unimpressive as more than 70,000 people had registered with Vinaphone to buy an iPhone.

Viettel refused to disclose its sales figure but the Vietnam News Agency reported the military-run telecom company had only sold several hundred units.

Analysts said that by announcing their prices would be cheap, the two companies had successfully caught the attention of many phone users in the country.

But when local consumers found out that they have to pay for a two-year contract, which means the actual money paid out will go up to VND26 million (US$1,300), many lost interest.

Thu Trang in Hanoi's Dong Da District said she thought the total price would be around VND5-6 million. At the prices on offer, she had to reconsider her plan to buy an iPhone.

The iPhone has not been formally distributed in Vietnam although unlocked iPhones have been brought into the country and sold widely at up to US$1,000 per unit. The iPhone 3GS, the latest model, is sold in the US for $199- 299, not including calling plans.

Another phone service provider, MobiFone, has announced its deal with Apple and plans to sell the iPhone in April. Analysts have said that if Friday's figures are any indication, MobiFone should be careful about its plan.

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