Siri, why are iPhone 5 prices falling? And Oman gets nano-SIM before UAE

It may be the fastest selling smartphone, but the sinking iPhone 5 price in the UAE may also soon earn it the distinction of being the fastest falling smartphone – price-wise, of course.

The price of a brand new factory unlocked iPhone 5 in the UAE’s grey market was quoted at Dh6,000 on Friday, the day of the global launch.

Within four days, however, the price has plunged to Dh3,799 – and if market experts are to be believed, it may still fall further.

Two popular daily discounts websites in the UAE are offering their customers across the UAE a brand new iPhone 5 starting Dh3,799 (delivery charges vary between Dh20 and Dh30 for the two websites).

One of the deals sites, however, is offering same-day pick-up (but for an additional Dh400) – Apple’s new smartphone can be in your hands today for Dh4,199.

The delivery price of Dh3,799 is more than Dh2,200 lower than what the iPhone 5 was being retailed for on the first day. But why so?

We asked Siri about the reason for the falling prices, but it seems that Apple’s ‘intelligent’ personal assistant – which is supposed to help us get things done just by asking – isn’t so intelligent here in the UAE.

But then we realise that – to borrow a line from Apple, Samsung and Nokia (we don't know who holds the 'patent' to it) – it doesn't take a genius to see why the sales might be slumping. Plain and simple laws of economics are at play, aren't they?

“It’s demand vs. supply,” said Kamran (name withheld on request), a mobile phone retail and repair shop owner based out of Bur Dubai.

“You could have charged some Apple fans a hundred thousand bucks for it before the actual launch,” he smirked.

“It was still a novelty on the first day – and people were willing to pay a premium,” he explains.

“Now that the device has started appearing in various outlets, the price will slowly but surely get aligned with the official price,” he says.

The UAE is still not on Apple’s list of countries where the Cupertino-based tech giant has promised to retail the iPhone 5 by the end of next month, but the device is already being retailed at various malls and electronics outlets, although at a premium.

Moreover, the much-hated nano-SIM has still not been launched by UAE telecom operators, with customers having to depend on a stone-age procedure of chiseling and filing to make their standard SIMs iPhone 5-compatible.

Nevertheless, Omantel seems to have stolen a lead from its UAE peers by just unveiling a nano-SIM ahead of its regional rivals.

“Omantel procured the new Nano-SIM cards weeks ahead of the announcement of the launch of iPhone 5, thus ensuring that our customers are able to use iPhone 5 as it reaches the local market,” said Saleem Ahmed Abdullatiff, General Manager Marketing, Omantel Consumer Business Unit. Now that’s foresight.

“Unlocked iPhone 5 is supported with our 3.5G network and we are currently testing the compatibility of the device with our 4G LTE,” Abdullatiff added.

We’re sure UAE operators will be busy doing the same right now as you read this – won’t they be?

“We believe it is essential to ensure our readiness to enable our customers to use this state-of-the-art device ahead of its expected arrival to the domestic market,” Omantel’s Abdullatiff said.


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