On the mobile data business, and iPhones

It always makes me smile when I see headlines like this: iPhone can boost mobile data business: Maxis. Lets decompose the article. (And yes, the answer is still that you shouldn’t buy a Maxis iPhone 3G.)

“We are seeing exponential potential in mobile data growth. With the launch of iPhone, I think it will strengthen Maxis’ competitiveness,” chief marketing officer Matthew Willsher said in Kuala Lumpur yesterday.

What it means: Lots of people like mobile data. New phones practically demand it, otherwise you might as well buy a cheap as chips phone, that only makes and receives phone calls, and has a non-colour screen. The chief marketing officer continues to say that the iPhone will “strengthen Maxis’ competitiveness”, which means that they will get more mobile data subscribers yes. But they will all complain at the lacking quality of service. Its fine and dandy that there is a 3.5G network, but if each cell can only take a certain capacity (in terms of bandwidth), what happens in areas where things are oversubscribed?

So far, more than 1,000 units of iPhones have been booked and Willsher said the initial booking numbers have “exceeded expectations”. However, the company did not want to reveal its actual booking numbers.

What it means: There are over a thousand idiots (some tell me its mostly Maxis staff and partners, since Maxis provides hefty staff discounts) who purchased the phone. This after the announcement that there is to be an iPhone OS 3 sometime really soon, and the heavy, mostly accurate speculation that there will be a new iPhone coming out sometime in June. It also seems that Caller ID doesn’t work out of the box and will require Maxis to update the software themselves (how true is this, I have no idea). But the chief marketing officer is right, 1,000 units being booked and snapped up, really does exceed expectations — I expected Malaysians to be a lot that valued their money a lot more.

Industry sources revealed that Maxis may have ordered as many as 150,000 units of iPhone 3G, as part of the conditions to bring the phone into the country. Willsher also declined to comment on this.

What it means: Wow. 150,000 units of a product that is to become obsolete within the next few months? Especially noting that it may not be exclusive to Maxis?

What’s the appeal of the iPhone? The AppStore. The iTunes Music Store. Not being able to have the music store seems like a big boo-boo towards Apple/Maxis.

And just in case you made it this far, read Jeff Ooi’s rather satirical piece Cut Maxis from broadband, please! When it works, its usually a breeze — when it doesn’t, its mighty annoying. Sadly, its usually not working… i.e. probably lacking capacity.

So Maxis’ mobile data business will be boosted – chances are lots of people are locked in for a year or two, and even if the service sucks, paying the penalty of quitting early, will probably derail most folk. Let’s see how they flog off the remaining 149,000 units in the next few months ;-)
(and no, no amount of advertising on blogs [I'm looking at you Nuffnang], and getting funny man Kenny Sia to write about it will help – read the comments, it seems at least his readers are smart!)

  • http://paultan.org/ Paul Tan

    I am at least glad Maxis 3G is working properly today, but what has the world become when I am glad my service works!!!!?!?!?1

  • http://marvinlee.net Marvin Lee

    “150,000 units of a product that is to become obsolete within the next few months?”
    Will the remaining units be sold off at discounted price when the iPhone OS 3 arrives? Hehe..

    • http://www.bytebot.net/ byte

      Remember, that you can upgrade the phone, without any problem, generally. I think its free for iPhones, but it cost USD$9.90/9.95 to upgrade iPod Touch’es. I recall doing that upgrade… no biggie (just a ~280+mb download or something)

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