( Bloomberg ) - Deutsche Telekom AG's T-Mobile unit has sold more than 70,000 iPhones in Germany since the handset's introduction in November, a number Chief Executive Officer Rene Obermann called a ``good'' start.
More than half the buyers of the combination phone and digital music player are new users, Obermann said today in an interview in Davos, Switzerland, where he's attending the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum. Subscribers spend three times as much as other T-Mobile clients on average every month, he said.
Apple Inc. introduced IPhone in the U.S. in June, extending the offer to Germany, France and the U.K. in November. It wants to sell 10 million units worldwide in 2008. France Telecom SA, the exclusive vendor in France, sold the same number as Bonn- based T-Mobile by the end of December.
``The number is lower than what I expected,'' said Hannes Wittig, an analyst for JPMorgan Chase & Co. in London who had predicted sales of 150,000 units. ``Germans are tight in spending and it's an expensive phone. If Deutsche Telekom wants to ramp up sales, it needs to talk to Apple about getting the price lower.''
T-Mobile, Deutsche Telekom's wireless arm, started selling the iPhone in Germany on Nov. 9, charging 399 euros ($586) for the handset and requiring customers to sign a two-year service contract. In France, consumers are allowed to buy the device without a contract.
Last month, T-Mobile won a court ruling that allows the German phone operator to block buyers of the iPhone from using the handset on competitors' networks, overturning an injunction won by Vodafone Group Plc.
T-Mobile, the largest mobile-phone company in Germany, had 34.5 million customers at the end of September. It's counting on the partnership with Cupertino, California-based Apple to bolster customer spending in its home market. Germany is Europe's biggest wireless market.
Apple has sold more than 4 million iPhones in total since its introduction in June.
``I'm happy with the sales, not only with the number of customers but also with the quality of the customers,'' Obermann said today. ``I do think it's just the beginning.''