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Telstra's iPhone launch held back by supply shortages

Telstra has said that the iPhone 6 launch this month performed better than that of the iPhone 5, but the company lacks sufficient supply of the devices from Apple.
Written by Josh Taylor, Contributor

The lack of sufficient supply of the new iPhone 6 is a source of frustration for Telstra, as the company sold out of the phone in the early days of the launch.

Image: Josh Taylor/ZDNet

On Thursday, Telstra CEO David Thodey told investors that the iPhone 6 had been a big seller for the company, but speaking to journalists after the investor briefing, Thodey said that the lack of supply for the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus is a frustration for the company.

"We would have liked more supply. That's really what we would have liked. More supply earlier. It has still got a way to run, but it's been right on expectations," he said.

Telstra head of retail Gordon Ballantyne said that in particular, the larger iPhone 6 Plus had sold better than Telstra was expecting, leading to a shortage in supply.

"It was in short supply. We're back in supply, but there are still some constraints. This was a significantly better launch than previous launches," he said.

Included in the launch of the new iPad Air 2 this week in the US and the UK is a One SIM feature for the cellular models that will allow customers on prepaid to switch between telcos without needing to change SIMs. Thodey said that Telstra will be watching how the feature works in the US and the UK before considering whether Telstra would be interested in participating in a similar scheme in Australia.

"The Apple SIM ... it's an interesting idea. We've been aware of that technology for a while. We'll see how it goes in the US and the UK, but it's not a big concern. We're working through the details on it," he said.

"The truth is that for anyone today, you could [switch telcos]. It just makes it a little bit easier, and maybe we can pick up some more market share, or expand the market."

Thodey said that Telstra would be looking to grow the number of iPads on the company's mobile network.

"I want to see more iPads connected to the network. At the moment, it runs at about 20 percent. So I would like to see more people using Wi-Fi and the mobile network."

Telstra also confirmed on Thursday that it had not been targeted by a law firm seeking to obtain customer details from a number of ISPs including iiNet for those customers alleged to have downloaded a copyright-infringing copy of the Oscar-winning film Dallas Buyers Club.

Thodey said that like iiNet, Telstra would not hand over customer details to third parties, but the company is willing to provide education notices to those customers who the rights holders allege to have infringed, as has been proposed by the Australian government in its online copyright infringement discussion paper. Again, however, Thodey said that rights holders have to bear the cost of sending out those notices.

"I want to partner with the rights holders to solve the problem; however, it is in the detail. I'm happy to help, but everyone has got to pay their own way, and that's it," he said.

"It is not my job as an ISP to be a law-enforcement officer."

Thodey also indicated that Telstra, as with other carriers, is still seeking to get clarity on the exact data set the government would force telecommunications companies to retain under a mandatory data retention regime.

"The challenge is the clarity around exactly what the government would like us to retain. We already retain an awful lot. It's not really us that is the issue," he said.

It has been rumoured that the government may introduce legislation for mandatory data retention as early as next week, but the legislation did not appear on a recent release of legislation expected to be introduced next week.

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