With reporting from Elysia Windrum
Hundreds of Qatar residents have been paying up to double the retail price to own a new iPhone 6 before it officially goes on sale in the country on Saturday.
Ooredoo and Vodafone won’t start shipping the devices to customers in Qatar until Sept. 27, when many other countries in the region are expected to debut the new iPhone, including the UAE and Saudi Arabia.
However, Apple has already launched its latest smartphone in the US and nine other countries. Since Friday, the company has sold more than 10 million devices, which boast a larger screen, faster processing speeds and longer battery life than previous models.
Some of those phones made their way to Qatar, where many shoppers were happy to pay a premium to get them a few days early.
Mohammed Ahmed Abdullah, the general director of cell phone shop World Communication in Al Sadd, said he sold his first shipment of 120 iPhone 6 devices within hours of opening sales on Friday.
Speaking to Doha News, Abdullah said he initially sold the most expensive model, the 128-gigabyte iPhone 6 Plus, for QR9,900. After receiving additional shipments later in the week, he dropped prices to QR4,300.
Those who are willing to wait a few more days for the device will pay considerably less for it.
On its website, Ooredoo said that the base 16-gigabyte iPhone 6 retails for QR2,799, while the top-end 128-gigabyte iPhone 6 Plus will go for QR3,999.
“Everybody know the price is coming down. But they still buy it,” Abdullah said. By Tuesday, he said he was sold out after moving 590 devices.
Abdullah added that his store’s strategy is not unique in Qatar, or even the Gulf. One of his colleagues said he had been in London over the weekend and saw iPhone 6 phones being sold at comparable prices to the rates in Doha.
Several other retailers, including LuLu and Jumbo Electronics, are also selling the devices in advance at a higher price. Both said they’ll be selling the 16-gigabyte iPhone 6 for QR4,199.
Meanwhile, local online classified sites Qatar Living also has several models up for sale.
Abdullah said he purchased his phones from an Asian supplier for QR9,300 a device before adding a markup of slightly more than 6 percent.
He added that his markup on other iPhones was as high as 15 percent – a hike he said is needed to offset the losses he occasionally incurs on other devices.
Elsewhere in Qatar, residents found other ways of securing an iPhone 6:
— Jennifer Gray (@JennyBee1029) September 23, 2014
While competitors have managed to erode Apple’s market share somewhat in recent years, Abdullah says new iPhone releases create a buzz unlike that generated by other devices.
Are you planning to get an iPhone 6? Thoughts?