Saturday, November 22, 2008

iPhone mas fotos

Here in Chile, all 3 carriers are GSM but only two are carrying the iPhone. This is a change to the former country exclusive we saw in the US, UK and several other countries where the iPhone launched in 2007 (under the old business model).

Both carriers are offering huge ads emphasizing their sale of the iPhone: billboards, point of sale, and even covering the side of their respective stores.
The biggest ad I saw (in Viña del Mar) was by Movistar, which had an add several car lengths wide. After traveling for a while, I saw a few ads where Movistar advertises they are a subsidiary of Telefónica, the Spanish mobile group that includes O2 in Britain, which is the iPhone carrier there.

The second carrier to carry the iPhone is Claro. Across the street from Movistar (facing towards the Marina Arauco mall) it plastered its store with a 10' high sign.

Claro is a Latin America chain — here in Chile, a rebranding of the former Smartcom PCS. Claro doesn’t mention that it’s part of the Mexican phone chain América Móvil, owned by the world’s richest man.

The third cellular carrier is Entel PCS. In the Marina Arauco mall, it was showing the Nokia N95, but since it (and the others) had a wide range of Nokia and BlackBerry models, it did not seem to have the same sizzle. (That said, I didn’t see anyone trying an iPhone — perhaps after four months everyone who wants the current model already has one.)

I couldn’t figure out why Entel PCS was the only carrier to say “no” while the others said “sí.” And then on the way to the airport (and in the airport) I saw Entel advertising that it’s part of the world’s largest mobile phone network, Vodafone. The same Vodafone that generally believes in commodity handsets.
I don’t know if that’s the reason Entel stands alone, or if it’s because Apple thought two was enough. Or perhaps Apple had to grant both carriers rights to distribute in Chile, to fulfill a broader global partnership with each carrier.

Photos by Joel West, November 2008: Viña del Mar (1, 2), Santiago Airport (3). Photos published yesterday: Santiago Airport (1,3); Lima Airport (2).

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