Saturday, July 24, 2010

SingTel stoking interest ahead of Friday's iPhone 4 launch

SingTel began sending out mass emails last night to people who had previously indicated an interest in buying the device.

The email is recommending that people create an account on the SingTel shop to make it easy to collect the  iPhone on launch day. This links to a page that asks people to sign up for an account.

SingTel is the second carrier to rev-up its promotion efforts. M1's efforts began when it sent out emails on Thursday evening asking people to register with their IC numbers and telephone numbers. StarHub seems slow off the block and has yet to alert interested buyers.

So far, no details have emerged about pricing plans yet. However, we should expect to see a pretty fierce battle for iPhone sign-ups. The iPhone 4 is being launched about two years after SingTel first launched the iPhone 3G. This means that the original iPhone 3G owners, assuming they did not upgrade to the 3GS, are now poised to switch carriers. With full number portability in Singapore, moving to a different carrier should be a painless affair.

In the end though, the decision to pick a carrier will probably depend less on price plans and more on network availability. Thanks to an expected fierce price war, all three carriers are likely to come up with almost identical price plans. They can't afford not to. If prices are going to be the same, then the carrier with the better network will draw the crowds.

Based on this, SingTel appears to be in the weakest position. As the carrier which has had the iPhone longest, SingTel's network has become increasingly unreliable as data-hungry iPhone users saturate the network. Dropped calls are now common and SingTel users are likely to be looking for a more reliable carrier as a result.

(Tip of the hat to James Yeo!)

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