The iPhone hype in Belgium

As of today, July 11th, the iPhone 3G is available in stores worldwide.  Also in Belgium, where the subscription-free iPhone is the most expensive of all Europe.  But nonetheless, the ‘internet communication device’ (as Steve Jobs likes to describe it) is selling like hotcakes.  When you walk into a Mobistar store tomorrow, you’ll likely have to put your name on a long waiting list.

The new iPhone 3G has created an incredible media hype in Belgium, being (officially) available for the first time.  Several media have tested out the product; check out an extended review of all the product features at ZDnet and De Standaard.  Interestingly, De Standaard, in collaboration with MobileWeb, has recently launched a mobile news site, just browse to m.standaard.be with your brand new iPhone to read the latest news.

The most controversial feature of the Belgian iPhone is its high price tag.  While the default price (for a subscription-linked iPhone) worldwide is $199 (about €125) for a 8Gb version, you pay €525 in Belgium.  Mobistar blames the high price to the fact that the Belgian law doesn’t allow the product to be linked to a required subscription (the infamous ‘koppelverkoop’). This is how you make Proximus compatibel for the iPhone 3G
As a result, the discussion on ‘koppelverkoop’/’vente conjointe’ has been re-opened.  Minister Vincent Van Quickenborne has proposed to lift the ban.  Consumers organisation Test-Aankoop has backed up the proposal, but only under certain conditions.  To be continued…

Meanwhile, Mobistar’s competitors aren’t watching from the sidelines.  Base has ‘congratulated’ Mobistar with the launch of the iPhone and invites all iPhone users to buy the device and then profit from the low calling rates of Base.  As spokesperson Bart Vandesompele puts it: “With our low rates, subscribers can save money which then allows them to buy the over-priced iPhone at Mobistar”. He adds “And we won’t hesitate to communicate this to all our clients in the coming weeks!”

Proximus is even promoting the iPhone on its homepage, provocatively titled “The iPhone on the Proximus 3G-network”.  They explain to their subscribers how the iPhone can be used on the Proximus network (basically just insert the Proximus SIM card; check on the right) and they stress how Proximus has a larger 3G coverage.

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  1. I new that this time around was going to be more of the same. Huge line, no service, no inventory, horrible customer service, etc…AT&T couldn’t get it right the first time, what makes you think they would get it right the second time around ? I think if you never had an iPhone maybe go through the trouble, but if you already have one, why go through the headache for another one. Makes no sense. Apple always launches news products with very low inventory to create excitement and demand. I did it once with the mini me, and never again. I can wait, if I really want an Apple Anything.

    petes2cents.com

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