After selling more than 37 million iPhones last quarter, Apple seems unstoppable. Not only did it break its company record by more than 15 million handsets, but the feat also made Apple the top smartphone manufacturer in the world.

But The Wall Street Journal has come across an interesting weakness in Apple’s game plan. It seems the company’s handset sales aren’t doing very well in countries where wireless carriers don’t offer subsidies on smartphones…

According to the report, the iPhone only accounted for 5% of smartphones sold in Greece last quarter. And only 9% in Portugal. Compare this to the 25%+ smartphone market share that the iPhone enjoys in places like the US and the UK, and you can see the problem.

The issue lies in the iPhone’s hefty price tag. Although those of us here in the States enjoy carrier subsidies that knock the handset down to less than $200, folks that subscribe to operators in other countries that don’t offer the discount are forced to pay full price.

Full retail pricing on the iPhone 4S starts off at $649, and goes up in $100 increments. What’s worse is that even the two year old iPhone 4 (8GB model) will still run you $549 without any subsidies. And the 3GS isn’t much cheaper.

Now let’s look at Android handsets. While there are high-end Android phones that cost just as much as, if not more than, the iPhone, there are also countless handsets that are quite a bit cheaper. We’re talking two or three hundred dollars at full price. Yikes. Given that information, and the fact that economies around the world are struggling right now, you can see why Android phones are much more popular in countries without carrier subsidies. This also explains why Android handsets make up close to 50% of the overall smartphone market.

Even though Apple doesn’t seem to be in need of any help at the moment, it’s going to want to gain ground in new markets (prepay, etc.) to continue growing its handset business. And it seems like the only way for it to do that (at least in some areas) is to make a less-expensive smartphone. But we don’t see that happening anytime soon. Do you?

[Business Insider]

  • Yeah well, you get what you pay for.

  • True, same here in India.
    an iPhone 4S costs me Rs.45,000 🙁

    • Yup ,
      My friend bought iPhone 4s at 50,000

    • i bought mine for whopping 75,000($1500)…2nd day of the launch…
      true fan boy…:)

      • Anonymous

        Damn, wouldn’t it be cheaper to just come visit the states and get one?

      • Lolz…this skipped my mind completely….;)

  • Pity!!!

    They never get to experience the real smooth smartphone.

  • Anonymous

    I don’t think apple should change it’s prices! So in this case they should lower the price of their computers too? So less fortunate people can buy them?

    I am happy with the prices! I know when the new iPhone comes out I can sell this one because it is an apple product the resale value is awesome. Keep things the way they are! Obviously they didn’t do anything price wise and have sold more iPhones now than ever! As posted above ” you get what you pay for”

    • Isn’t that amazing? When the 4S came out I knew I was buying one but every forum had serious grips about the 4S, and it turned out to be what Tim Cook said it was, “the best iPhone ever!” Well until the next one, and personally I like the 4S much better than my iPhone 4. I’m not surprised at all my it’s market success, it is among the best smartphones.

  • great article, android has alot of reasons to go to them i miss it but now i have the 4s so apple wins with me for now. I wish apple would jus allow apps from an open market thats all for otherwise the 4s is realll nice

  • sn0wbaLL

    here in Ukraine the iphone 4S 32gb is 950 dollars, factory unlocked of course. But you can also turn around and sell it at a big price. I sold my iphone 4 32gb factory unlocked for 620 dollars here in Ukraine. A new iPhone 4 8gb is 675$. get the picture.

  • Here in Spain we can get the iPhone much cheaper, but then we have to pay 30+€/month.

    I got mine for $600, but I now pay only $10/month (compared to the $50+/month I used to pay). So if I keep my iPhone for 2 years, it’s a great deal:
    600 + 10*24 = $840
    100 + 50*24 = $1300

  • in Portugal if you want an iphone from vodafone have to pay € 150 for entry and pay over € 100 per month to have 2gb internet is absurd

  • Tom

    The way for Apple to get into these countries if they want to, and I am not sure that they do, would be to do an iPhone Nano. A smaller iPhone, no video, no Facetime etc. A simple 4 megapixel camera and less storage 4GB?

    But then that doesn’t really fit Apple’s strategy. They don’t do cheap.

  • Srinivas Palavarapu

    In India for 4s 16 GB you pay 900 dollar….and galaxy note 675 , galaxy s2 for 450.. Many ppl liking iPhone also are ending up buying android phones because of this…

    • you are right,
      i really feel india have more apple fans than USA…cummon apple show some love, slash the price a lil bit…:))

  • I bought a 16 GB 4S for a quarter of it’s full price with a 50% discount on all 24 monthly fees after transferring my number from a different carrier. If it weren’t for that discount, I would’ve definitely changed my mind, since the iPhone is noticeably more expensive. Indeed, you get what you pay for, but almost twice as much is unacceptable.

  • Portugal does indeed subside the iPhone, but the discount on an iPhone with a 24 month contract is not appealing to the Portuguese.
    iPhone costs €569,90 with a 24month contract at 30€ per month . in total you pay 1289.90€. The 30€ gives you free calls and texts and 1GB internet, but you only get free text and calls with the carrier. so you get bills that are superior to 30€ because you eventually call landlines and other carriers. No one really wants to pay more for a phone than what they should.

  • Sotiris Papapostolou

    greek here, spot on.

  • Anonymous

    Cheap crap fom china …..sure save money but pay the price later hahaha…