Apple iPhone sales in France fell by nearly 10 per cent in the first quarter due to an upsurge in SIM-only promotions from the three main French operators, according to a report in the French consumer magazine LSA.
This decline, which has seen the iPhone's share of the French market fall below 20 per cent, is being blamed on the success of Free Mobile's SIM-only offer that is thought to have attracted nearly three million subscribers since the operator launched the service in February
Other operators, notably Orange and SFR, have responded by overhauling their SIM-only deals, which has resulted in some handset retail chains reporting five-fold sales increases in the first quarter alone.
According to LSA, the iPhone has been affected specifically by the situation due to the very high cost of the product without operator subsidies. The iPhone 4S currently sells for between €629 for the 16 GB version and €849 for the 64 GB without operator subsidies. This compares with Nokia's high-end Lumia 810 smartphone, which goes for around €450 without a service contract, and Nokia's entry-level Lumia 710 smartphone, which currently sells for €299. Competitors such as Samsung and Sony offering similar pricing for their off-contract products.
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