So it’s that day again: An Apple iPhone launch day in Belgium! As you may or may not remember, I was first in line to get my iPhone 3G 2 yars ago. After letting the 3GS pass last year (on purpose ;-)), and with 2 years of raising Apple-awareness, would I be lucky enough to repeat the success??
I knew that getting an iPhone4 was going to be way hotter than getting the iPhone 3G back in the day. However, I didn’t want to camp there the day before. So here’s my journey.
This time, I only contacted the nearest Apple Premium Reseller (APR) via mail to ask them if the iPhone4 would indeed go on sale this Friday at their place. The answer came really quick: yes, but… with a big but: they’d only get one iPhone4 for sale! So the mission was clear: Either be the first in line, or go back home immediately. Well, there’s that Mobistar shop I could also try but we hear the wildest rumors and speculations about them and their iPhone sale strategies so I’d preferred to go the APR way.
The big day
I set the alarm clock for 5:00 AM. I was awake at 4:10 AM and in the end, I left home at 4:45 AM. We arrived in “the” street (the APR and the Mobistar shop are in the same street) at 5:20 AM.
To my big disappointment, I was NOT the first one showing up. There were 5 people at the APR when I arrived: 2 Guys from Cologne, Germany, they were there since 5:00 AM, and 3 Girls from Bremen, Germany (which is about 540 Kilometers, aka 5 driving hours away!!) had just arrived. CRAZY TOWN!!! This was going to be sooo hot 😀
Not being the first in line at the APR, I wandered down the street to the Mobistar Center and BOOM no one there. So I sat down and waited for time to go by… Soon after, I was joined by a group of 2 guys and 1 girl from Aachen (Germany again). Some time after this, 3 Belgian dudes showed up (besides me, they remained the only Belgian ppl until about half an hour before the shop opened). Now was rumor-comparing-time 😀 What did you hear? Where did you get the info? “Apparently, they’ll have 10 iPhones”, “Apparently, they only sell them to customers owning one of their contracts”, “Apparently, they’ll only have 5 iPhones”… It got me really uncomfortable because even though I’m a Mobistar prepaid subscriber, I don’t want a contract (not even for an iPhone4!). Well, we said, wait and see… Several German people showed up over time. In the end, we had guys and girls from Aachen, Cologne, Essen, Frankfurt and Bremen (though the Bremen girls left to try their luck in the next bigger city, Liège) and only a few Belgian citizens. Since I speak both, French and German, and since I was first in line, everything evolved around me. The time passed very very quickly. It was a lot of fun, well, a careful fun because we neither knew how many devices the shop would be getting, nor what the selling conditions were going to be.
At 9:20 AM, the shop manager came into the shop. While passing by us to reach the door, he said something like “and there’s not even anything here yet”, raising the tension among the 25 to 30 people waiting in line even more. At 9:32 AM precisely, he opened the door, let us in and distributed numbered tickets. “Just so there’s no confusion when they arrive”, he said. So indeed, there weren’t any iPhone4’s in the house yet! But being the first one in line, I had the chance to talk to a salesman while waiting for the courier. Even at this time, he did not know how many iPhones they’d get, but at least, he assured me I didn’t need to be a contracted subscriber (not even a Mobistar subscriber at all) to get one! YESSSS 😀
When the courier arrived, about 9:50 AM, It was quite a big letdown for a lot of us: 4 devices, that’s it. Now, in case someone (myself in a couple of years included) wants to know the EXACT conditions at which we got them, here they are:
- NO CONTRACT REQUIRED, not even required to be a Mobistar subscriber, but:
- Every customer had to purchase one accessory to get the iPhone4. Available accessories were bumpers (about 25 Eur) and display foils (about 15 Eur). I went for the display foil, since it was cheaper and since Apple’s going to send me a free bumper anyway.
- Absolute must: the iPhone had to be activated immediately in the Mobistar Center. The reason they gave us was that sales are monitored through iPhone activations and that the next round of devices would be distributed in the shops according to today’s activations (one can believe it or not). However, for an iPhone to be activated via iTunes, it needs to contain an unlocked SIM card (not necessarily one from Mobistar though!). Overmore, since the iPhone4 is the first phone to come with MicroSIM cards, people (especially the Germans) had no MicroSIM with them they could’ve used to activate!!! So they didn’t get their iPhone! Well, the first one after me did, but it looked like that was the salesman’s fault for forgetting the activation. I had the unbelievable luck that I’m one of Mobistar’s prepaid subscribers and that they had migration MicroSIMs in the store! So I let them migrate my regular SIM to a new MicroSIM and it was OK! 😀
- Other than this: first come, first served!
After the “party”, I heard that there have been exactly 6 iPhone4’s for the whole city: 1 at the APR, 1 at another Mobistar Center and 4 at the Mobistar Center where I was.
So I’m now one of only 1200 Peple in Belgium to own an iPhone4 (wellt, one that’s been sold in Belgium at least ;-)).
Long life to my iPhone4! 😀