iPhone will only create niche market says mobile expert

iPhoneApple’s long-awaited iPhone will only have a “modest impact” in Europe despite being one of the most eagerly anticipated products of the year, according to a leading telecoms analyst.

Respected Strategy Analytics director Neil Mawston says the technology giant will struggle to become more than a “niche player” in Europe because it is a late entrant to a highly competitive market.

The company announced last week that it will launch the iPhone in the US on June 29. Although it has not yet confirmed a European launch date, it is thought that it will go on sale this autumn.

The global mobile phone market is dominated by Nokia and Motorola, and Mawston says: “Apple is going to be a niche player for a good few years yet. It is a very late entrant to what is a very mature market and is unlikely to get beyond 1 or 2% [market share]. I think it will have a relatively modest impact in Europe, although it will make quite a splash in the US.”

The iPhone will be a combined music player, mobile phone, e-mail and internet device and has been the subject of feverish hype since Apple disclosed details of the launch in January.

Europe’s biggest mobile phone networks have been competing for the exclusive distribution rights for the iPhone and last month T-Mobile emerged as the frontrunner (MW May 10). Apple has already signed an exclusive deal with AT&T to distribute the iPhone in the US.

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