x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Samsung SIII primed to battle iPhone 5 in the UAE

The Samsung Galaxy SIII smartphone is set to have a simultaneous launch in June across Dubai, Singapore and London, potentially going head-to-head with Apple's new iPhone 5.

The much-anticipated Samsung Galaxy SIII smartphone is set for a simultaneous launch in Dubai, Singapore and London next month, potentially going head-to-head with Apple's new iPhone 5.

Eros Group, the exclusive distributor of Samsung products in the UAE, expects to begin selling the SIII at the start of June and predicts bumper figures after doubling the sales of its predecessor, the SII, in the first three months of the year over the same period last year.

"My understanding is that there will be simultaneous commercial launch in London, Dubai and Singapore in June," said Deepak Babani, the chief executive of Eros. "[The phone] is going to be raved about."

The SIII received a grand unveiling yesterday in London, displaying its capabilities, but after The National had gone to press.

Mr Babani does not expect the new phone to be greatly different from its predecessor, but it does have a faster processor and more bells and whistles.

Apple is also widely expected to unveil and begin selling the iPhone 5 this year.

"People are excited by the SIII. But will they be as excited as [by] the iPhone 5? I do not know," said Omar Kassim, the chief executive of JadoPado, an online electronics and fashion retailer. "[The SIII] will be a good upgrade but not one of those devices that sets the standard."

Samsung products have driven strong sales at Eros so far this year, with the company's total sales up 43 per cent in the first three months, compared with the same period last year.

Eros, which retails and distributes electronics goods and household appliances, reported sales of Dh2.6 billion (US$707.8 million) last year and predicts sales of Dh3.2bn this year, driven by the SIII.

Samsung and Eros spent more than Dh30m in marketing the SII in the UAE in the past year and expect the new model to sell four to five times the number of units of its predecessor.

"This is just the beginning for Samsung," said Mr Babani. "Expectations are [that] there will be a jump in sales for the SIII."

The SIII is expected to be priced at Dh2,699 to Dh2,999. Samsung has a greater range of phones than some of its peers, which has helped to increase the company's sales this year.

The average price for phones in Eros's 30 outlets has risen from Dh400 to Dh500 last year to Dh800 to Dh900 this year, which has helped to increase the retailer's revenue.

As well as Samsung products, Eros, which has 1,300 employees, distributes brands including Hitachi, Linksys by Cisco, Sonos, Candy, TCL, Taurus, Thermobreak and Lennox.