Optus dashes deposit hopes for 3G iPhone fans

Optus has disabled the deposit-taking function on its 3G iPhone website ahead of the device's launch next month.

Optus has disabled the deposit-taking function on its 3G iPhone website ahead of the device's launch next month.

Optus removed the function after launching its 3G iPhone website last week, which featured a registration page allowing users to place a deposit with the carrier to enter a priority customer queue for the device on its 11 July Australian release.

An Optus spokesperson told ZDNet.com.au: "Due to an overwhelming response, we have currently removed the deposit-taking mechanism [from the website]."

It remains unclear whether the telco intends to resume taking deposits through its 3G iPhone page, or if it will simply continue to take registration details from interested parties, as rival Vodafone has been doing since it announced its own 3G iPhone launch.

"One way of stimulating a need is to deny it — that's been known for years," said Guy Cranswick, marketing and media platforms analyst at research group IBRS. "You've got to acknowledge that the marketing around Apple's products has been doing that for a while."

"I think with this sort of product it's very key to have people talking about it, to even have some degree of exclusivity ... it's important to keep in mind that bragging rights will be well and truly over after the first six months," he said.

However, Cranswick does not believe that the removal of the deposit-taking mechanism was an orchestrated attempt by Optus or Apple to generate publicity, but could be a case of a problem occurring at the right time.

Mark Novosel, telecommunications market analyst for IDC believes that Optus may have run out of its pre-release 3G iPhone allocation.

"It wouldn't surprise me: I thought the initial demand would be very strong ... perhaps the carriers aren't getting as much as they want from that first shipment either," he said.

Despite this, Novosel believes that this initial interest could be tempered strongly by the carriers opening price.

"If its [3G iPhone] released at that price it could seriously impact on who's buying it," he said.

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