iPhone's big price tag is making it a harder and harder sell, says France telco boss

iPhone's big price tag is making it a harder and harder sell, says France telco boss

Summary: The next iPhone may not sell as well as past versions thanks to its high cost, warns the CEO of France Telecom.


At $600, unsubsidised price of Apple's iPhone is making it an increasingly difficult product to sell in Europe, according to France Telecom's CEO Stephane Richard.

Richard told Bloomberg that the number of early adopters willing to fork out big sums of cash for new devices are dwindling in Europe, where customers are seeking lower-priced alternatives to top line models, such as the latest iPhone.

Apple is readying its iPhone production line for a new release possibly by this summer, the Wall Street Journal reported yesterday, but Richard warned it may not draw the same lines it has consistently attracted with each previous release.

"There are fewer early adopters, and probably with the next release of the iPhone this will be evident," Richard told Bloomberg. "Selling a phone for $600 is getting more and more difficult."

Customers are more "focused on price", he added, with only a "few hundred thousand" people likely to buy the latest iPhone.

Richard's comments follow concerns raised last month by unnamed smaller carriers in France with Europe's competition regulator that Apple is showing preferential treatment towards larger mobile operators. There have also been complaints that Apple's strict terms and sales quotes make it difficult for carriers to promote rival smartphones.

France Telecom last year accelerated its European transformation program in response to the ongoing "price war" across the continent. In France, that competition is coming from the mobile arm of low-cost operator Illiad, known as Free - launched last year, it now has a small but significant chunk of the market. France Telecom had dropped its mobile service plan prices by 10 percent last year and expect similar cuts this year, Richard told Bloomberg.

Topics: Apple, iPhone, Mobility, Smartphones

Liam Tung

About Liam Tung

Liam Tung is an Australian business technology journalist living a few too many Swedish miles north of Stockholm for his liking. He gained a bachelors degree in economics and arts (cultural studies) at Sydney's Macquarie University, but hacked (without Norse or malicious code for that matter) his way into a career as an enterprise tech, security and telecommunications journalist with ZDNet Australia. These days Liam is a full time freelance technology journalist who writes for several publications.

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  • just an iConboard

    I even wouldn't imagine to buy a phone that is not able to
    1) copy a file
    2) open a file in any app

    even for 100E

    This phone must buy really a very IT limited person...
  • Iphone Only Sells Well Where Subsidized

    Now you know why the Iphone's number one market is the USA, the most backward mobile-phone market in the world: because this is the one market where the idea of buying a phone first, then choosing a carrier to hook it to, is completely alien.
  • US market

    Apple cleverly manipulated the US market. Going exclusive with AT&T at inception to me at the time seemed stupid, but they were able to dictate a $199 price point to the consumer. But if you compare it to an android handset where the street price is $600 the price to the consumer is going to be $299. Apple got AT&T to suck up that $100. Now all the other carriers have the Iphone, but Apple is still able to dictate prices because if you don't knuckle under they take the Iphone away and you lose customers. The thing I hate most about the Iphone is I am paying for it even though I don't have one. The logic is the 100 that isn't being charged directly is being passed on through to everybody though the cost of monthly service plans. I don't want an Iphone why should I be paying for it?
  • All apple device are overpriced and lack substance.

    Switch from Apple and there are plenty of cheap options available which offers real value of money.
    • Re: plenty of cheap options available which offers real value of money.

      What, you're not recommending Windows Phone any more??
  • You are thinking in dollars...

    The iPhone here in Ireland cost €680... that's 869 dollars... for the cheapest one... The 64 gig is €899, that's $1,150.... wheres the exchange rate? an American iPhone is $650... in euro that's €507.... so what we get charged €170 for not being American or just because you can... that's actually more than the government here taxes stuff at 23%.... Its why i'll NEVER buy an apple... why should I pay a huge premium for not being in America... sure a tiny one to account for shipping would be ok.... actually no... the iPhone makes massive profit on each handset... they could afford to send it here and sell it for 550 and still make more profit than in America..... But nooooooooooooooooooo they have to be greedy ass*oles... not even the same number... the euro price is higher than dollar... W.......T......F......

    I'm sorry but they could make the best phone out there by a MILE and there is no way I will buy one... I'm not paying extra because apple think they can shaft the Europeans.... that just leaves a super bad taste in my mouth....