Strong small business demand for the Apple iPhone 4 has contributed to significant waiting times for the device in Australia.
Delays have been reported on the delivery of iPhones by telcos Vodafone Hutchison Australia and Optus, with Telstra said to be the only operator with stocks of the device.
A VHA spokesman told StartupSmart that there was a wait of one to two weeks for a 16GB iPhone and a two to three week delay for the 32GB version.
“It’s a highly sought after device and we have had to manage that demand,” he said. “We are fulfilling back orders and we are proud that we have managed that supply.”
“We are happy with the regular replenishment of stock we get from Apple.”
The spokesman said that demand was high among business customers, suggesting that the iPhone was winning over entrepreneurs who were previously wedded to the BlackBerry.
“The iPhone has been well received by business customers,” he said. “There is a strong demand for it and the story of how popular it has been will come out in due course. Given the sophistication of the device, with mobile internet and email, it is providing strong competition to the BlackBerry and Android devices.”
For start-up businesses forced to play the waiting game, there are options other than the iPhone. The BlackBerry is well established in the business market, while vendors such as Samsung and HTC have introduced well-received smartphones that cover most essential business functions.
Nicole McCormick, telco analyst at Ovum says: “For an SME, one alternative to the iPhone, is of course, the BlackBerry, which commands the corporate market lion share due to its push email functionality.”
“But RIM’s BlackBerry is losing market share in the corporate segment to Apple, HTC, among others.”
“IT managers are believed to be increasingly pressured by employees to choose the iPhone and other smartphones as the work phone over the BlackBerry. In other words, workers want an integrated work-personal device.”