Telstra sold 500,000+ iPhone 5’s last year


blog Every time I think I know just how dominant Apple’s iPhone unit is in Australia’s mobile phone ecosystem, I am forced to confront new information showing that I had underestimated the situation. For example, consider this news from Telstra today that it has sold more than 1.5 million 4G devices, of which a third or so are iPhone 5 units. Yup. Gizmodo reports (click here for the full article):

“Telstra said that the iPhone 5 is driving good mobile profits, with over 500,000 sold in the second half of 2012.”

There were a few other tidbits from Telstra’s latest financial results briefing session today (PDF here); the company is on track to expand its 4G network to 66 percent of Australia’s population by June this year; it’s recently enables another 480,000 customers to access ADSL2+ through upgrades, it has added a total of 607,000 new mobile customers over the second half of 2012, and even its fixed broadband division is growing, with 85,000 new customers. Plus, it’s now sold some 450,000 T-Box units and some 456,000 T-Hub units. Its cloud division is also apparently growing. All up, not bad.

But for me, what today comes down to is really the success of the iPhone 5. We knew that Australians are more highly focused on Apple than residents of other countries are, and we knew Apple was doing amazingly well in Australia (growing revenue by more than a billion dollars in Australia last year). But 500,000 iPhone 5’s since the handset went on sale since September last year? 1.5 million 4G services in total for Telstra right now? That’s just crazy. Vodafone (which has zero 4G connections right now) is increasingly being left behind when it comes to this 4G race, and we’ll find out next week during Optus’ own financial results session how well it’s doing in 4G. I suspect not anywhere near as well as Telstra.

Image credit: Apple


  1. I’m waiting for the 5s (assuming it has NFC) as I have a 4s already (bought outright) – after experiencing the abandon-ware that was HTC’s Sensation (still stuck on 2.3), I’ll never buy another Android Phone!

    It’s little wonder that less than 15% of Droids run 4.x when Telco’s are the gatekeepers of official upgrades – compare that with 60% of iPhones are already running iOS 6.1!

    • Did you buy your HTC through a telco? One reason the Nexus 4 is so popular is that it doesn’t have the telco bloatware nor does it require telco approval for software updates.

      I will never buy a phone on a telco plan again. Always an unlocked one from now on (and for the forseeable future: always an Android! ;) ).

        • But with the very competitive unlimited plans available now and the low cost of unlocked phones, a growing minority I believe.

          Locking yourself into contracts for 12/24 months with one of the ‘Big 3’ makes no sense at the moment, at least.

          • Yeah right, us geeks may buy our phones outright but joe public does not.

            Still Google has a massive problem that they foolishly created by allowing the OEM’s and Carriers to control the Android phones – carriers in-particular have 0 incentive to let you have anything more than minor updates and the low take-up of 4.x proves it!

            I’ll stick with iPhones as they are properly supported for up to 3 years (going on Apples track record) vs not even half that for 98% of Android handsets!

          • Yup, can’t complain about Apple’s support. I’m running a 3GS bought in 2009, and it’s still running all current OS and software updates fairly well.

            Plus my wife won’t let me get a new one until the old one stops working, and it just won’t give up! :)

    • Oh and I know it’s too little too late but the sensation got upgraded to 4.0, my wife loves it (but I hate it).
      I have a one XL and am wishing I could upgrade to a 4g nexus 4.

      Le sigh.

      • Just highlights the poor upgrade experience that it took so damn long! I’d actually rooted my sensation and was running Android Revolution HD 6.x until the large corporation I worked for issued an edict saying “no JB’d/rooted/non-oem OS running phones allowed on our network on pain of joblessness” due to security concerns etc. (and I actually need my work email & calender etc on my phone)

        I actually didnt mind Droid 4.x without the Telco bloatware but found the app quality all over the place and the UI inconsistencies irritating. However I do miss the ability to choose my default app tho as I quite like the Chrome browser on my iOS devices and PC’s.

  2. This is the big one here 480,000 homes on RIMS can now get Internet that is about 5% of Australian homes that were unable to access broadband other than wireless. That is massive and they are not done yet!

    This is what private enterprise delivers 5% of Australian Households with substandard or no internet

    ” it’s recently enables another 480,000 customers to access ADSL2+ through upgrades”

      • So because the title says iPhone but the article contains other information I can’t even mention other things in the article.

        This is the first time that I have been able to see the extent to which Telstra has screwed Australians you may not care that 5% of Australians were unable to get a fixed line connection but I do.

  3. And second half hides the truth, went on sale Sept 21, thats 101 days.

    So Telstra alone sold 5,000 x iPhone 5 every day for that period

  4. And I wonder how much tax Telstra has paid in selling those handsets, compared to say, Apple?

    • Probably a lot more than Apple. Bloody Multinationals ripping off everyone, everywhere, all around the planet to feed their greed.

  5. I moved from an iPhone 3GS to Android and haven’t looked back. My wife still uses the iPhone, but the only data needs she has are email and Facebook – and it still frustrates her sometimes.

Comments are closed.