James Middleton

July 4, 2007

2 Min Read
iPhone margin 55%, but not at T-Mobile yet

Rumours that T-Mobile would become the first European carrier to offer iPhones were denied by the company. According to various press reports, the firm was about to announce a deal with Apple for the much-hyped gadgets.Possibly there was even a 3G (UMTS) variant about to come out of the woodwork.

However, what seems to have happened is that last Wednesday, a German regional paper carried a report that T-Mobile had made a last-minute boost to its offer for the things. This may well be true. A couple of other German papers picked it up and ran with it, but the story didn’t make it into the Anglosphere for a while; German-speaking journalists are as rare as BenQ devices in London, after all.

Eventually, the Handelsblatt (like the FT, but with Germans) actually called its D Tel contacts, who debunked the story, saying that “nothing has yet been decided about the marketing of the iPhone”. By this time, the story had finally struggled over the language barrier, a certain website repeating the story with the added twist that the European iPhones would be UMTS-capable. That apparently originated on a London newspaper not necessarily known for its telecoms beat.

Apple hasn’t promised any such thing, and given the incredible quantity of leaks gushing from the Cupertino curia, you wouldn’t expect that this would be the only thing kept quiet. Perhaps the whole thing was meant to divert attention from the fact the iPhone bill of materials adds up to roughly half the selling price?

According to analysts iSuppli, who dismantled one completely, it costs about $265 to obtain all the bits, and the complete product sells for nearer $600. Naturally there are other costs, but assembly and shipping won’t be very much. The cost of developing the software is probably nontrivial – but God knows how much Apple has spent on the marketing..

Samsung is the biggest single supplier, providing the CPU, which in its turn is based on an ARM RISC chip, the RAM, and the 8GB Flash module used in the iPod Nano. Infineon did the baseband and RF components, with another German firm, Balda AG, doing the single biggest component, that huge touch-screen.

About the Author(s)

James Middleton

James Middleton is managing editor of telecoms.com | Follow him @telecomsjames

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