Dubai: After Gulf News reported that unlocked iPhones are on sale through regional online shops since beginning of this week, more web portals are jumping on the bandwagon of grey channel sales.
This is positive news for customers, as prices of the first online shop offers sparked complaints among potential buyers who felt that the pricing is inflated, but they weren't left with a choice.
One of the first online vendors offering the "factory unlocked" version of the iPhone 4, Dubai-based Alshop.com, priced the phone initially at Dh6,200 (32 GB version) and Dh5,500 (16 GB version).
Owner Sheriff Rizwan said that he easily sold about 100 phones of the first batch he received from Europe last Monday. With more stock to arrive, he said that his prices will go down.
However, he is facing fresh competition from another online shop, Aido.com, based in Dubai's Jebel Ali Free Zone.
Sanjay Amarnani, CEO of Aido.com, said that he is now offering the iPhone 4 for only Dh3,860 for the 32 GB version and Dh3,550 for the 16 GB version.
"I could easily sell them for Dh5,000 because demand is so high," Amarnani told Gulf News. But he will keep the price lower than Alshop.com, he said.
His first batch of 250 units of the iPhone 4, which he said he purchased from the UK and France, is already sold out.
Aido.com is an online shopping portal targeting customers in the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Qatar, but is also shipping its goods worldwide, Amarnani said.
The official launch of the iPhone 4 in the Middle East is planned for next September.
Etisalat and du have said they will offer the device with a yearly connection plan.
Worldwide, Apple had already sold 1.7 million units of the new smartphone by the end of last week. The company said this was its most successful launch of a product ever.