Mobile operators in the U.K. are complaining about receiving limited supplies of Apple’s premium iPhone 5S, saying they believe the device maker is trying to covertly goose sales of its lower-end 5C.
The BBC reports
several operators made the complaint, although they refused to be identified citing worries they could be further disadvantaged as supplies are replenished. One operator said it had “crates and crates” of 5Cs but very few 5Ss and no clear plans for when they may arrive on operator shelves. Operators across Europe, as well as in Australia, China and even the U.S. itself are posting similar complaints.
Yankee Group Research VP Declan Lonergan comments
"All this hoo-ha about iPhone availability will die down pretty quickly. I don't think I can recall an iPhone launch that wasn't accompanied by network operators and customers complaining about limited availability. In this instance, I don't believe the conspiracy theories suggesting Apple is deliberately drip-feeding the 5S to drive demand for the 5C. I can't think of too many examples where a company has deliberately restricted supply of a higher-priced product to artificially stimulate demand for a lower-priced one. The delays are more likely due to limited production capability. My main takeaway from this whole story is the extent to which (at least once a year) mobile network operators essentially become Apple distributors. For a week or two each year, millions of customers judge their operator on little more than how quickly it can deliver the latest iPhone. As operators continue to whisper their concerns about product availability, Apple just soaks up the free PR. Plus ça change."