Frugal Europeans Shunning Expensive IPhones

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European consumers are increasingly avoiding the lure of high end smartphones as the cost and rapid turnover of technology puts them off France Telecom's CEO Stephane Richard has warned.

"We are in a period of changing consumer behavior," Richard said this week during an interview at Bloomberg's headquarters in New York. There are fewer shoppers in search of the latest and greatest gadget, and more of them are seeking lower prices on wireless service, he said.

He said that the switch has been most noticeable in FT's European markets where customers are switching networks, but often keeping their old handset and opting for SIM-only deals.

Without a mobile network contract subsidy, the iPhone typically sells for about US$600, making it too pricey for many shoppers, he said.

He said the effect may be most pronounced later this year when Apple issues its annual refresh of its smartphone. Sales may be muted by comparison to previous years that had seen long queues outside stores on the launch day.

"There are fewer early adopters, and probably with the next release of the iPhone this will be evident," Richard said. "Selling a phone for $600 is getting more and more difficult."

On the web: Bloomberg News

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Tags: france telecom  apple iphone 

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