M1 – BT

M1 to offer iPhone by year-end: CEO

MOBILEONE Ltd (M1), Singapore’s smallest mobile phone operator, will offer Apple Inc’s iPhone in its retail outlets by the end of this year.

‘I think, before the end of the year we will be’ carrying the phones in our stores, chief executive officer Neil Montefiore said yesterday in a Bloomberg Television interview. ‘It will become available in all markets, with all operators.’

M1’s shares rose 2.1 per cent to close at $1.96, the highest in more than a month. Its stock price has risen 3.2 per cent so far this year, against a 16 per cent drop in the broader benchmark Straits Times Index.

Singapore Telecommunications Ltd, the country’s biggest phone company, said in May that it won exclusive rights to distribute the iPhone in the city-state. Chief executive officer Chua Sock Koong said in a shareholders’ meeting yesterday that the timing of the sale of the iPhone will be determined by Apple and a formal release date has not been confirmed.

‘We are very keen to have the iPhone launched in Singapore as soon as possible. Unfortunately, the schedule is controlled by Apple,’ Ms Chua said. ‘But definitely before the end of the year.’

StarHub Ltd, the second-largest mobile operator, said in May that it also expects to offer the handsets by year-end.

M1 on Thursday reported that second-quarter profit rose 1.2 per cent to $41.1 million after winning more customers. That was higher than the $38 million median profit estimate of three analysts surveyed by Bloomberg News. Sales increased 2.8 per cent to $205.3 million.

Mr Montefiore spent more on advertising and promotions to keep customers after a rule change on June 13 allowed users to switch operators and retain their numbers. M1 won 57,000 users during the quarter, compared with 31,000 a year earlier, as it battled to stem defections to its two rivals. — Bloomberg

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