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Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 September 2018

'Grey market' dealers offer iPhone X at 20 per cent price hike

Prices expected to lower further as a new shipment arrives on Thursday 

While some official iPhone X carriers may be out of stock, the UAE's unofficial market is well placed to meet the demand from residents. Mahmoud Khaled / EPA
While some official iPhone X carriers may be out of stock, the UAE's unofficial market is well placed to meet the demand from residents. Mahmoud Khaled / EPA

Unofficial retailers are selling the iPhone X for almost 20 per cent more than official outlets, with many Apple fans willing to pay a premium to bypass a month-long wait.

By the time you finish reading this article, however, those prices may have changed.

“The market prices are higher than those at the Apple store,” said Shahid Aziz, manager at Al Mayyas Mobile Phone in Abu Dhabi.

The price at which he bought iPhone X stock from his distributor was up to Dh100 higher than official Apple prices, which are Dh4,099 for the 64GB model, and Dh4,729 for the 256GB one.

At more than 20 unaffiliated iPhone mobile retailers in Abu Dhabi and Dubai, prices averaged Dh4,500 (64GB) and Dh5,500 (256GB) on Wednesday, but were fluctuating almost by the minute with the arrival of new shipments.

Wednesday's prices were Dh55 higher than the day before, and they may change again in less than 24 hours, said the Rixos Group in Dubai.

“Right now there isn’t much stock in the market and everyone is selling high, but tomorrow more consignments will arrive,” said John Ibrahim, a Rixos sales representative.

And just like that, the market price will change.

The grey market shops – outlets that are not authorised Apple distributors – were selling the iPhone X in two versions, one with FaceTime, and one without.

This popular iOS video calling application is unlicenced in the UAE and many other Gulf countries, and mobiles acquired through official channels will not have the application installed.

The FaceTime models from other countries are in high demand, said Emerson John, manager at Royal World Mobile Phones.

“So far I’ve sold 21 pieces, mostly 64GB with FaceTime,” Mr John said.

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Having this unauthorised feature can cost 3 per cent more than the already marked-up prices of the grey market mobiles.

Dubai’s Hotline Mobile Phone has 15 devices available for between Dh4,500 and Dh5,350, with FaceTime ­models costing Dh150 more. That is less than they were over the weekend.

Mustafa Pourshansi, branch manager at Al Safa, said prices had decreased by nearly Dh600 since the official Friday launch.

By next week they may drop by another Dh100 or Dh150, he said.

Third-party distributors are not illegal, but customers choosing this route should be careful because the warranty on these devices may be void.

Mobile company and official retailer du said it had the models available inside its shops throughout the UAE for the standard rate with a valid warranty, although its website said delivery would take three to four weeks.

“We are continuously ­monitoring the demand and stocks are being replenished wherever needed,” a spokesman for du said.

That has not stopped UAE shoppers from hitting the grey market.

Stock for the 256GB model was thin yesterday, giving some retailers, such as Al Wavi Mobile Trading, an excuse to increase prices to as high as Dh5,700.

But the shop said it was aware prices might fall, and would check the market again when it received more devices tomorrow and recalculate.

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