MTN wades into iPhone
Duncan Alfreds, News24
Cape Town - Cellular operator MTN has launched the iPhone 4 in SA, as it enters turf dominated by Vodacom in recent years.
"We have upgraded out network after the (Soccer) World Cup and now it's more than capable of handling smart phone traffic," MTN representative Edward Mahlasela told News24.
He said that the iPhone 4 would be offered only on contract packages.
"We are offering the iPhone on contract basis only because the price is steep on prepaid. With a 150MB internet bundle, it's R379 per month."
Internationally, the smart phone has been criticised because of signal problems related to a so-called "grip of death" which caused signal loss in some phones.
"Apple calls it (the phone sleeve) a bumper and as far as they are concerned the problem is resolved. Customers who buy the phone and are not happy can contact Apple and they will be sent, at Apple's expense, a free bumper," MTN marketing manager Sandy Ward told News24.
A survey around Cape Town revealed that few MTN stores had the iPhone 4 in stock and one staffer said that the "email only came through early this morning".
In Vodacom stores, those wanting an iPhone are encouraged to provide their contact details. However, Vodacom will make the phone available on prepaid, starting at R7 800 for the 16GB version.
Vodacom sent an SMS saying: "Thanks for your interest. The newest Smartphone in the world was however SOLD OUT on its debut."
The launch of the iPhone forms part of MTN's strategy and Ward said that the company would launch the next BlackBerry by mid-October.
Apple has built a solid worldwide following for the iPhone and has recently overtaken Microsoft to be the biggest technology firm in the world.
- Follow Duncan on Twitter