iPhone 5 to arrive in Vietnam next Friday

September 16, 2012 | 22:40
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Many local dealers have begun to allow customers to pre-order the newly-launched iPhone 5 which will probably be shipped to Vietnam next Friday at a hefty price tag, starting at VND25 million ($1,200) each.

Apple Inc. CEO Tim Cook takes the stage after the introduction of the iPhone 5 during Apple Inc.

Local shops have mapped out plans to import the handsets to Vietnam as soon as possible shortly after the announcement that the iPhone 5 will start to be delivered in the US, Canada, UK, Japan, Australia, along with two Asian market near Vietnam, Singapore and Hong Kong, on September 21, 2012, according to newswire Vnexpress.

The opening of iPhone 5 sales in many markets which are geographically close to Vietnam will help the smartphone arrive in Vietnam sooner than in European market, like which had happened to the iPad 2012, said Nguyen Hoc, store manager of CellphoneS in Ho Chi Minh City.

The iPhone 5 sales will be opened in Singapore and Hong Kong nearly half a day before those in the US due to the differentiation in the local time.

If queuing up to buy the gadget in Singapore, it can be brought back to Vietnam on Friday afternoon, the time when Apple starts selling the iPhone 5 in the UK and doesn’t even open sales in the US, he added.

According to many local mobile phone businesses, the iPhone 5 could be imported in Vietnam a day earlier, on Thursday (September 20, 2012).

The store owner of Bach Long Mobile in HCMC said as the smartphones will be sold in Hong Kong and Singapore at the same time with other the large markets, the initial price may be at VND25 million for an iPhone 5.

The owner of another HCMC-based store, PhonGee, said he had received pre-orders from the past 10 days, and the price is about VND35 million each. However, depending on the supply source, the cost can be reduced.

However, Nguyen Anh Van, spokesperson of CellphoneS system in Hanoi, said local dealer cannot have the exact price for the iPhone 5 when they have yet made their way into Vietnam.

Although being available for sale soon in Hong Kong and Singapore, the initial volumes that can be brought back to Vietnam will be very limited, thus making it hard for pricing, Van said.

Like the sale of iPad 2012, the volumes of iPhone 5 that Apple provides in Asia for the first phase will also be limited, lower than in other markets such as the US or Europe, he added.

According to local mobile phone businesses, the iPhone 5 prices will gradually decrease and stabilize in about a week or two after the handset make its presence in the domestic market when there are more plentiful supply.

With the presence of the Apple iPhone 5 along with the new offer price, the 16 GB and 8 GB models of the iPhone 4S and iPhone 4 are expected substantial price drops in the coming weeks.
However, whether the handset can be used normally in Vietnam or not has yet been authentic.

Troublesome nano-SIM

Though being happy with the improvements on Apple's next generation, the iPhone 5, many local Apple’s fans could not help but be disappointed at the new smartphone.

They said Apple did not bring any major surprises compared to most previously leaked rumors and the current nano-SIM standard is incompatible in Vietnam.

Many said the new SIM card standard applied in the iPhone 5 may turn the device into a luxury paperweight in Vietnam.

Nano-SIM, the latest format adopted by the European Telecommunications Standards Institute in June 2012, is about 40 and 60 per cent thinner and smaller than a micro-SIM standard in the iPhone 4/4S and conventional standard in most mobile phones in Vietnam. 

As a result, it will be very difficult to change the conventional SIM into a nano-SIM by cutting the outer areas like many have successfully done to change it into a micro-SIM.

Some local electronics stores have confirmed that the job can still be done, and others have showed off some Chinese-made devices that can help customers have the job done.

But according to the website of Apple, the iPhone 5 "is not compatible with the old SIM standard", which means even if being cut to the right size, the smartphone still does not recognize the SIM.

If it is true, the iPhone 5 will only be able to operate in Vietnam if the domestic network operators start to manufacture and provide nano-SIM.

The two biggest local mobile network operators, the state-run VinaPhone and the military-run Viettel, said they have already planned to import the iPhone 5 for sale in the Vietnamese market.

However, as Vietnam is not a prioritized market of Apple, so this product would return to Vietnam in the next two months (mid-November).


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