& graveiPhone in Italy? Great potential, some question marks. This is what emerges from an interview given to Macitynet by Carolina Milanesi, an analyst at Gartner, one of the most experienced and cited in the field of wireless and cellular telephony in general, in which we take stock of the market prospects of the Apple phone in our country.
Italy – Carolina Milanesi tells us – has not yet been addressed by our analyzes. We focused on the three markets where iPhone was announced, but we can already say from now that Italian customers should welcome Apple's phone well and this for two reasons. The first is that cell phones are not like this; heavily subsidized such as, for example, in England. This means that a 399 euro phone doesn't scare anyone. The second factor that could give a push to iPhone that Italy is a nation ready enough to welcome what is new and trendy and certainly iPhone belongs to this category of product.
But alongside these potentially successful elements there are others that lead to a little caution. The main fact is that in Italy the dominant prepaid market while iPhone provides long-term contracts, with postpaid. Right now also in Italy – Carolina Milanesi tells us – we are trying to push on the postpaid and on the two-year contracts, but we are still far behind other countries that have already assimilated this model. I believe that Italian carriers wishing to offer iPhones could have some problems, at least in the initial phase. Another problem could come from the fact that throughout Europe, especially in Germany and the United Kingdom, iPhone is supported massively by the Wifi networks which are widespread and very efficient. In Italy, apart from airports and hotels, access points are still few and this in a time limits the flexibility of the iPhone and makes it more dependent on the cellular network
How important is the fact that iPhone is not compatible with 3G in relation to its landing in Italy? In our country, the lack of 3G support is quite significant – explains the Gartner analyst -. The iPhone also works quite well with the Edge network. On the other hand, Rim built his fortune using the Edge network, which is fine for email and other services. When it comes to surfing the Internet it can become an obstacle, but for this there is the Wifi network, which for Italy, as mentioned, is not so widespread. For this an iPhone 3G could be important. In addition, there is also the aforementioned fashion factor, which we have more weight than elsewhere. An iPhone with Edge could be welcomed as a product that has limits compared to the forest of Umts and Hsdpa phones
But who could be the ideal iPhone manager in Italy? Tim has a good Edge network – states Carolina Milanesi – and could provide adequate support for the current version of the iPhone. But at this point of the year it is difficult for Apple to take the field outside the three countries where it has already announced its plans with this version of the iPhone. If the launch will take place in the second half of 2008, when the Umts version of the iPhone should be available, then another candidate could be "3", a company that has a marked tendency to innovate in services as it has also recently demonstrated with the mobile phone for Skype and even earlier with flat rates for data. On the other hand, at Gartner we had indicated as the main candidates for the iPhone in Great Britain O2 or "3" …
Vodafone, on the other hand, seems a little out of the game, at least for now. According to Gartner, in fact, "Voda" has a strong brand and also operator brand services that do not seem to be compatible with Apple's market prospects. They have cell phones that are service oriented – says Milanesi – and are focusing heavily on music. rather unlikely to put everything aside to follow Apple and iPhone strategies. true that they have a dense pan-European network, but equally true that Apple seems more oriented to draw up agreements with individual operators. On the other hand, if they had as a priority the unification of the managers they could already have gone ahead with T-Mobile, which also has a network in England as well as in Germany
Speaking of data, however, there seems to still be a strong resistance among European carriers for the adoption of a true flat, which represents the backbone of the "iPhone system", as confirmed by Carolina Milanesi: exactly so. Telephony network operators tend to be very conservative because they think that a rate per downloaded kb is a safe way of calculating profits. What they do not seem to understand or in any case overshadow the fact that a flat data would allow people to try new services and make profits in a differentiated way. And this is true both in Italy and in the rest of Europe, even if some operators, such as "3" are trying to get out of this vicious circle.