Wednesday, August 20, 2008

IPhone 3G Launching in the Philippines Officially in 2 Days

I recently passed by one branch of Globe Telecom and saw a sign that said that the IPhone 3G was launching in the Philippines in 2 days.

Wow, I forgot all about this one. I heard that Apple was releasing the IPhone locally a few months ago; I was surprised that it was a matter of days before the IPhone becomes officially supported in the Philippines.

You would think that, in the Philippines where there is supposedly a small market for high-tech luxury items, and people supposedly don't have that much disposable income, that a product launch for something like the IPhone 3G is a crazy, impossible endeavor. Consider the price alone of the IPhone in the Philippines; a whopping PHP 37,599 (US$822.60) for the 8GB version, and PHP 43,799 (US$958.25) for the 16GB version. The truth is, not many in the mainstream Philippine market today can afford the IPhone.

But Globe and Apple sure have some guts for doing it. They know there IS a market that they can tap into that buys these things, even if they're expensive. Apple/Globe don't necessarily have to make the IPhone everybody's phone, but they can still profit from supporting it officially in the Philippines because there is a market segment that does appreciate the value of technology, and is willing to pay the price for it.

Kudos to Apple and Globe for having some initiative to bring official support for the IPhone 3G in the Philippines. It shows that they understand the importance of establishing a base early when it comes to brand new technology, and they know that it is possible to create a market for something where there is none. They know that IPhones will reach the Philippines eventually---actually, they're already available on the grey market as parallel imports, or simply because some Filipinos who went abroad took them home as pasalubong for their families. So why should Apple pretend that the product doesn't exist? Why not make it official? Great job, Globe/Apple; thanks for recognizing that the Philippines is on the world map. I, for one, surely appreciate that Apple values the consumers here who want to buy their product.

There was a time when cellular phones were also a luxury in the Philippines, and not everyone could afford them because they had a system where they charge you every minute for the time that you use the service. I remember speaking with people who said that cellular phones will never take off; landlines are easier to use and more viable. The cellular phone companies persisted; they invested millions to create the market for cellular phones in the Philippines, and thanks to their understanding of how the long view matters when it comes to business, they eventually succeeded in a big way.

That's how I see Globe and Apple's initiative to sell something as ridiculously expensive as the IPhone 3G. They're establishing their ground in the local market. They're not saying that they're going to put an IPhone in every Filipino's pocket, but they're saying that it's going to happen eventually.

Now, that's guts.

"You are invited to be the first to experience the iPhone 3G with Globe on Thursday, August 21, 10PM at the Tower One and Exchange Plaza, Makati City.

Globe Telecom to Bring iPhone 3G to the Philippines on August 22

MANILA—August 6, 2008—Globe Telecom today announced that it will bring iPhone 3G to the Philippines on August 22. iPhone 3G combines all the revolutionary features of iPhone plus 3G networking that is twice as fast*, built-in GPS for expanded location-based mobile services, and iPhone 2.0 software which includes support for Microsoft Exchange ActiveSync and runs hundreds of third party applications available through the new App Store"

LAST NOTE: If you must know---no, I'm not buying an IPhone 3G when it launches. I simply can't afford it. It's too expensive for me! All I'm saying is that I admire Apple/Globe's guts to officially support such an expensive product here in the Philippine market, that's all.