UPDATE: Celcom puts up iPhone 4S teaser on their website.
UPDATE 2: Celcom to offer early pre-ordering on 9th December ahead of 16th December Malaysian iPhone 4S launch?
While we would assume that both telcos will have iPhone 4S stock at the same time come December 16, Celcom is adamant that it will be the first operator to offer the device in Malaysia as a leaked internal communique that was made available to us reveals.
We’re not sure how Celcom is going to pull this off as we would think that both telcos will be selling the iPhone 4S just as the clock strikes 12 on December 16 (Maxis did just that for the iPhone 4 launch last year). What we are sure of is Celcom definitely has the subscriber numbers to use as leverage for some special arrangement with Apple. A large subscriber base would mean Celcom can commit to more iPhone 4S than any other operator in the country. We don’t have the exact numbers but before Celcom offered the iPhone 4, Maxis was probably the operator holding the largest iPhone 4 stock in the country. Now that Celcom is on board right from the get go, it’s reasonable to consider that the big blue is committing to a very large number of iPhone 4S stock in anticipation of a larger uptake. We believe this is very likely.
But let’s not forget that pricing and plans on offer will play an even critical role in convincing customers to sign up. Previously with the iPhone 4, Maxis offered a contract extension incentive allowing subscribers to extend their existing iPhone contract up to a maximum of 30 months (months left in existing contract + contract duration for new iPhone) to qualify for subsidised pricing for a new iPhone. We’re expecting Maxis to offer the same for the iPhone 4S and this is a major pull factor for existing subscribers.
On Celcom’s side, the operator’s signature approach is to offer massive discounts for limited units of whatever device that it is launching. However, this will not work for the iPhone 4S because Apple has strict guidelines on how operators can sell its devices and a fire sale is something we don’t think Apple will allow. So that leaves Celcom with only one other option and that is to offer a more substantial subsidy for the device but contract sign ups with Celcom will typically require subscribers to pay an upfront subscription fee. This fee will be credited back into the subscriber’s account nonetheless but it would mean that you have to fork our more cash at the beginning with Celcom compared to other operators where you have to pay for the device only. So we’re again wondering how Celcom is going to make its iPhone plans enticing.
Curiously, DiGi has been very quiet about the iPhone 4S. We recall during the iPhone 4 launch the yellow fellow was actively competing with Maxis for your attention. Wonder what happened this time around?