Singtel Wooing iPhone?

Apple’s iPhone was stated to launch in Asia in 2008 during Steve Jobs’ keynote at Macworld San Fransisco 2007. However, since then, there has only been a trickle of news about iPhone reaching Asia and Singapore’s shores. This just in:

According to statements made by Advanced Info Service (AIS, Thailand’s largest mobile operator) chief marketing officer Sanchai Thiewprasertkul, the Thai-based mobile operator is collaborating with Singapore Telecom (Singtel, Singapore’s largest mobile operator) and Australia’s Optus (Australia’s second largest mobile operator) to launch the iPhone throughout the region.

What relationship can the three companies have? Interestingly, Optus is a wholly owned subsidiary of SingTel, and SingTel owns 21.4 per cent of AIS. I believe with SingTel’s investment in various telecommunications companies across Asia Pacific (SingTel is currently the largest mobile network operator in the Asia Pacific outside of the People’s Republic of China.), it does have the position to “[discuss] phone volumes, marketing terms and business model partnerships” with Apple.

There is a hurdle to be crossed however. Apple’s current partnership with various telecommunications company in the U.S. and Europe requires them to share a portion of the subscription revenue. This is a new concept that may be difficult to implement due to the competitive nature within the Asia Pacific market. I quote Sanchai:

“Given our one baht a minute of airtime, it would not make sense and would be impossible for us to share revenue with Apple.”

Fingers crossed that the companies will come to a consensus soon.

[via iLounge]

Research Notes:

  • SingTel current owns:
    • Advanced Info Service, Thailand (21.4%)
    • Bharti Group, India (30.6%)
    • Globe Teleco, Philippines (44.6%)
    • Optus, Australia (100%)
    • Pacific Bangladesh Telecom Limited, Bangladesh (45.0%)
    • SingTel, Singapore (100%)
    • Telkomse, Indonesia (35.0%)
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