San Francisco: In another step in the worldwide march of Apple Inc.’s iPhone, the top mobile phone operator in Latin America has inked a deal to bring the multimedia gadget to more than a dozen countries starting later this year.
America Movil SAB, controlled by Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim, said it plans to bring the iPhone to all of its Latin American operations but didn’t offer more details about the arrangement, including whether it would be the exclusive iPhone provider in the targeted countries.
Apple has so far struck exclusive deals for the iPhone with AT&T Inc. in the United States, O2 in Britain, T-Mobile in Germany and France Telecom’s Orange wireless arm in France.
The company plans further expansion later this year through the partnership with Mexico City-based America Movil, which boasts 159.2 million subscribers in 16 countries, including Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia and Mexico.
Apple fast expanding sales/ distribution network
In the last few weeks, Apple has signed deals with Rogers Communications Inc. to sell in Canada; Milan-based Telecom Italia SpA to sell the iPhone in Italy; and Vodafone Group PLC, the world’s biggest mobile company by sales, to sell in 10 countries, including Australia, India, Italy and Turkey.
The announcements are all important steps for Cupertino-based Apple as it looks to expand sales of the iPhone, the combination iPod-cell phone-Internet device that went on sale last June in the U.S.
But many consumers in countries where Apple has not struck iPhone deals with mobile operators are using them already. They’re using “unlocked” iPhones that have been modified to work over any cellular network, a sign of the growing worldwide demand for the phones that has also irked Apple, which has disabled some unlocked phones through software updates.
5.4mn iPhones sold already, targets 10mn by year-end
Apple has so far sold 5.4 million iPhones worldwide, based on data as of the end of Apple’s fiscal Q2, which ended in March. Apple has a goal of selling 10 million iPhones by the end of this year.
“We’re excited to be working with America Movil to bring the iPhone to Latin America later this year, and we can’t wait to get this revolutionary phone in the hands of even more people around the world,” said Apple spokeswoman Natalie Kerris.