Polish carrier uses 'phoney' queues to hype iPhone launch

Poland's biggest telecoms operator, Telekomunikacja Polska had paid young, hip-looking film extras to stand in queues for the national launch of Apple's iPhone.

'It was a marketing move. We thought it was a pretty interesting strategy,' TP spokesman Wojciech Jabczynski, quoted by an AFP report, said.

TP is controlled by France Telecom, which owns the Orange mobile telephone brand.

The iPhone, which had its initial launch in the US in July, went on sale at Orange's Polish stores on Friday after the stroke of midnight.

In other parts of the world, Apple fans have stood in line for hours, and sometimes days, to get their hands on the new iPhone.

On Thursday evening, apparent queues began forming outside Orange's stores across Poland, with some in the line offering to sell their slot to passers-by for 100-300 zlotys (€30-€90 euros, US$45-US$135), the AFP report said.

'The aim was to attract attention. The people in the queues told passers-by about the iPhone,' said Jabczynski.

Such a marketing ploy is ironic in Poland because queues were a regular and much-loathed feature of daily life until the fall of the country's communist regime in 1989, because of endless shortages of even the most basic goods.

Jabczynski said TP was pleased with the results of the launch but declined to reveal any figures.