With both Optus and VHA experiencing problems with their mobile networks over the past several years, at Telstra it may be a case of making smartphone hay while the sun shines — if numbers disclosed by the telco’s chief executive at its half-yearly results briefing session this morning are to be believed.
Responding to a question from a journalist, Thodey said Telstra had sold some 400,000 Apple iPhones in the second half of 2010 — and registered some 70,000 iPads. “New iPhones was 400,000,” the CEO said. “And if you want to keep going, 290,000-something Android smartphones in the first half as well.
For the past several years, Apple’s growth in the local market has stunned local telcos and analysts alike. From a standing start in 2008, the company in the three months to the end of September last year had shifted itself into a position of strength — winning more than a third (36.5 percent) of all smartphones shipped in the period.
The launch of the iPhone 4 in mid-2010 helped the company consolidate its already rapidly growing stake. However, the Android platform is speedily catching up — as Thodey’s revelation that Telstra sold 290,000 of the next-generation Google-based smartphones in the second half of last year demonstrates. The telco grabbed pole position in the Android segment with its launch of the HTC Desire in April last year — a move which Telstra is expected to follow up next week with significant launches at the Mobile World Congress confab in Barcelona, Spain.
In December, local analyst firm IDC published a research report noting that although Apple was still growing strongly, it was Google’s mobile operating system that was expanding its turf the fastest.
In the first three months of 2010, just 2.1 percent of smartphones shipped in Australia were based on the Android platform. But over the succeeding three months to the end of June, the percentage of Android shipments had more than trebled, reaching 7.1 percent at the end of that period. Then in the three months to the end of September, Android’s share of the smartphone market exploded again — up to 21 percent.
The news comes off the back of comments this morning in Telstra’s briefing pack associated with the results that smartphones were a big driver of growth for the company — in the six months to the end of last year, seven of its top ten-selling post-paid handsets were smartphones.
Video credit: Marina Freri