400,000 iPhones: Telstra’s Apple lovefest


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


    • Truly; I think it likely that a lot of smartphone users have switched from Optus or VHA to Telstra over the past year or so — myself included.

  1. “You know, there’s an old saying – stick to your knitting – and Apple is not a mobile phone manufacturer, that’s not their knitting.”

    “I think people overreacted to it — there was not a lot of tremendously new stuff if you think about it… It was maybe kind of cool on the touchscreen technology but touchscreen technology is another domain, so it’s only a matter of time before it went to the device.”

    “You can pretty much be assured that Nokia, Samsung, Sony Ericsson and ZTE and others will be coming out with devices that have similar functionality.”

    – Greg Winn, Chief Operating Officer of Telstra, Feb 2007

    Thank goodness they shipped Sol, Greg and the rest of their cronies home. Great to see David Thodey has injected such commonsense into the business and is now making good use of the amazing Next G network from a sales perspective.

  2. I find the comparitive Android/Iphone numbers interesting- the hype everywhere is that Android “has already” overtaken the iPhone in shipping numbers, which doesn’t seem to be the case at Telstra. I wouldn’t be surprised to see that happen at some point but it is interesting to see that the Android/iPhone gap at Telstra is (currently) bigger then the worldwide trend.

    • I’d actually say a fair proportion would be non-smartphone to iPhone. Currently, a lot of iPhone and Android sales are to people who don’t have smartphones — that’s the biggest source of growth.

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