Beating the blockade: iPhone 5 in Gaza before Israel
Apple’s new iPhone 5 is selling well in the Gaza Strip despite inflated prices.
It reached the Palestinian enclave via smuggling tunnels even before neighboring Israel received official deliveries of the gadget.
The newest smart phone is being sold for almost double its price in the United States.
The price has been jacked up by middlemen as deliveries of the iphone made their way to Gaza via tunnels linking the blockaded territory with Egypt.
New iPhones have been available for a couple of weeks in Gaza and they were on display on Monday in three independent mobile stores in downtown Gaza City.
Prices on show ranged from $1,170 for the 16 gigabyte model to $1,480 for the 64 gigabyte version.
“I ordered 30 and I've sold 20 so far,” said one dealer, “we can order as many as we want, but most people are waiting for the price to go down, they're pretty expensive.
”The iPhone 5, launched last month, sells for $650 and $850 for the 16 and 64 gigabyte versions respectively in the United States.
But despite the hefty mark-up and high costs in an aid-dependent Gazan territory, which faces a crippled economy, market forces prevail and people are buying the product.
One of the dealers in Gaza, where Apple has no store or official dealership, said “there are always some people prepared to pay whatever they must, just to be the first to have the latest thing.”
For the 1.6 million Palestinians living in Gaza, transport and handling costs for all kinds of imports are inflated by bribes paid in Egypt to facilitate the smuggling, furthermore Hamas adds sales tax at its end of the supply chain, making goods in Gaza far more expensive than their equivalents in neighboring countries.
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