Telecom’s Gen-i to sell iPhone ... sort of

Telecom’s Gen-i division is to start selling iPhones to corporate customers on Monday.

Stay in your chairs, Vodafone execs - you haven’t lost your current position as Apple’s sole official carrier.

Rather, Gen-i says it will buy an iPhones from Apple's NZ online store on a Telecom customer's behalf. That is to say, Gen-i will buy them at retail, just like any civilian.

Gen-i will then configure an iPhone with an XT sim card to work on Telecom’s network.

After that, Gen-i customers are on their own, with “no formal guarantees”, spokeswoman Carmela Sailsbury told NBR.

"We do not support the device, guarantee it or provide replacement services directly. The process has been put in place to ensure we are delivering the best client experience we can without a formal carrier agreement between Telecom and Apple," said Ms Sailsbury.

Ms Sailsbury said the offer would be made to business clients “If no Telecom device suits their requirements”.

Nail in the coffin
Vodafone had no formal comment on the deal, though one insider offered: "It's all very ... odd. Have they given up on getting a real deal with Apple? Because that would be a nail in the coffin I would think."

Quite the fashion
At Telecom’s most recent results briefing, analysts quizzed chief executive Paul Reynolds about director of mobile Paul Hamburger’s ongoing failure to secure Apple’s handset for XT - despite the fact that Vodafone NZ has repeatedly told NBR its Apple deal is non-exclusive.

Dr Reynolds said that Telecom was happy with its current handset line-up.

Not 100% happy was Telecom Chorus chief executive Mark Ratcliffe, who was spotted palming an iPhone.

Gen-i chief executive Chris Quin has also been spied totting an iPhone, along with head of Telecom Wholesale Matt Crockett (and, incidentally, 2degrees chief executive Eric Hertz).

Now, customers get to share.

Second stab
This is Telecom's second stab at creating iPhone on XT buzz without securing official carrier status.

In July last year, it briefly offered a $600 bounty for those who brought their iPhone to XT - the sum designed to offset Vodafone's handset subsidy for contract customers.

Better on XT ... and better on Vodafone 3G
The iPhone supports the 2100MHz 3G frequency that both Vodafone and Telecom use in urban areas, and the 850MHz 3G frequency that Telecom uses nationwide. Outside urban areas, iPhone customers on Vodafone step down to 2G.

However, Vodafone has an advantage in tethering (connecting an iPhone to a laptop to use it as a modem).

An Apple iPhone OS software upgrade blocked handsets from tethering unless they were on an official carrier.

There are tethering "jailbreak" workarounds for tech savvy users comfortable with hacking their iPhone - but presumably Gen-i will not want to rile Apple by going down this semi-legal path. Nor will many corporate customers.

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25 Comments & Questions

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What next?

Telecom execs line up to buy Two Degrees SIM cards? Oh wait... they did that.

Telecom execs line up to buy iPhones at retail rates to sell on to customers even though their line up of handsets is "world class"...

how embarrassing.

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Wait till they figure out tethering doesn't work on Telecom's network.

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Vodafone dont make anything on the iphone anyway

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With the latest iPhone firmware (3.1.3 I think) an unlocked iPhone can be tethered on non approved carriers.

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Yes, 3.1.3 with the carrier bundle from iphonewzealand.co.nz allows tethering while on XT. I use it on my iPhone, much better than it ever was with Vodafone.

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Gen-i has been purchasing iPhones for senior execs of large customers for at least the past four months.

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Hardly news. Gen-I supplied my iPhone (which runs on an XT corporate plan) back in July last year. Unfortunately the OS upgrade released in September did away with tethering but I will try the workarounds suggested by other posters....

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Cant help but wonder what Apple would make of all this?

Seems to be like some sort of shonky paralel importer type deal. Telecom arent doing themselves or their customers any favours....

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If I'm spending $1000 plus on a piece of hardware...I'm wanting the full warranty deal....not liking the lines below;

After that, Gen-i customers are on their own, with “no formal guarantees”, spokeswoman Carmela Sailsbury told NBR.

"We do not support the device, guarantee it or provide replacement services directly."

Why on earth would you forego proper warranty to go with XT?

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There is a difference between not having a warranty and the carrier not providing a warranty.

All iPhones purchased from the Apple store will still have their standard warranty and support that any user would have who purchased the iPhone from the Apple store.

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Personally I will never sign up with telecom even if they give me iphone for half prise..Will Not trust them

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Ha and you trust Vodafone! Telecom are bad but Vodafone are probably worse.

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There is a difference between not having a warranty and the carrier not providing a warranty.

All iPhones purchased from the Apple store will still have their standard warranty and support that any user would have who purchased the iPhone from the Apple store

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Sure, you just front up with your proof of purchase... What's that? Chris Quinn has it? Better give him a call then!

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You miss the point.

Gen-i is purchasing the iPhone from the Apple store, modifying it (hence voiding the warranty), and then on-selling it.

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If they thought selling their mothers would make them money they would do it in a flash.

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And lets hope XT has decent coverage unlike Vodafone that doesn't work around Auckland city, i.e. St Marys Bay.

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Vodafone do have some coverage in St Mary's Bay, but they also have a known blackspot in some parts as well, in this area.

I have it on very good authority that a new Cell Site is going in by the end of the year in this area.

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You have to ask - why is Telecon so incapable of securing an Official Carrier status from Apple??

They said they were "in deep discussions with Apple" when the launched XT - obviously this was a load BS marketing.

Sort it out Telecon, you are indeed pathetic.

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If i had a dollar for every time ive heard that...........

Think about it - its simple.........Vodafone have HUGE buying power and can feed off a global deal. Apple is well know for being difficult to deal with and all phone manufacturers make telcos commit to massive pre-orders. Telecom just do not have the buying power that the large carriers do. Do you not think if Telecom COULD "sort it out" thaty would?

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you need to have your facts straight before throwing mud around. Apple insist on a huge proportion of the calls costs when supplying the iPhone to an 'authorised' carrier, I believe that it is around 60%. This means that for every $1 a user spends on phone calls, 60 cents goes to Apple. Now work out why Telecom doesnt have the iPhone.

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Surely Apple want to sell as many iPhones as possible? In every other country there are multiple iPhone resellers - except for US which is unique with AT&T. In Australia Telstra, Optus and Vodafone all sell it.

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Telecom buy all ranged handsets via Brightstar who have better global purchasing power than Vodafone... So why no iphone?
Because it costs networks more to supply iphones than other handsets over the contracted term. Apple make good money from the downloads, itunes etc not the networks...

So basically the iphone is a glamourous loss leader

Telecom make more money without the iphone!

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@Fed up
Perhaps you should ask yourself whether the poor reception in St Mary's Bay and other high-end suburbs like Remuera is a result of residents who block the installation of and maintenance work carried out on telecommunications equipment? You can't have NIMBYs, tin foil hat wearing tree-huggers and superb 3G coverage in the same area at the same time it appears.

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@ carkitter:
"Gen-i is purchasing the iPhone from the Apple store, modifying it (hence voiding the warranty), and then on-selling it."

Gen-i are not 'modifying the phone' - they are merely tweaking the parameters in the Settings application to make the phone work on XT. Anyone can do this (see iphonewzealand.co.nz), and it does NOT void the warranty.

I suspect that Gen-i are discounting the phone and taking the hit on the cost to themselves to keep their customers happy....

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