It’s iPhone mania in Hong Kong toay as the 5 goes on sale, but the two biggest operators are privately fuming at Apple.
The reason: this page on the Apple website, which lists its LTE operator partners worldwide.
It references just one HK carrier – SmarTone – and somehow excludes CSL and Hutchison Telecom (the other two LTE players, PCCW Mobile and China Mobile Hong Kong, are not selling the iPhone 5).
Despite repeated attempts by CSL and Hutch to get Apple to update the page, it remains unchanged.
At one level this is maybe no big deal. Most customers will order the phone from their operator’s web page or retail store. And Apple’s web marketing team has bigger things to think about right now. (The company's Hong Kong/China PR team haven't responded to my query.)
But that Apple page isn’t as obscure as you think. It comes up in the top ten search results for 'iPhone 5 LTE'. If you’re a careful, early-adopting customer, who knows that LTE runs in multiple bands, are you going to accept your cellco’s assurances when Apple tells you otherwise?
This is a small but telling lesson about how Apple uses its near-monopoly power. Nothing is going to drive sales on new LTE networks like the iPhone 5. More than anywhere else in the world, that matters in Hong Kong, where five LTE guys are going head to head.
But those aren't Apple's problems.
Its success is from its design and engineering brilliance. When it comes to dealing with people, it routinely behaves like a jerk.