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March 19, 2010: Thanks to dirt cheap prepaid (no contract) calling plans, and low average revenue per user (ARPU), India’s carriers have virtually no appetite (no margin room) to subsidize handsets. Now add in the fact that India’s networks had overwhelmingly relied on 2G, and have been far behind schedule in deploying 3G. This equation has added up to less than stellar iPhone sales in India. But that may be about to change. India’s Bharti Airtel is in the process of expanding their 3G network and today (March 19, 2010) Bharti Airtel announced an accord with Apple Inc to sell its iPhone 3GS in India in the “next few months.”

Bharti Airtel is the country’s largest mobile phone operator by users and had previously launched the iPhone 3G > read prior PR

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May 14th, 2008: Venkatesh Ganesh writes in Rayaz.net

Full article > HERE

EXCERPT: The rollout of Apple, Inc’s iPhones in India is set to be the largest, anywhere in the world. It is understood from industry sources that Apple’s iPhones will be sold through about 2.5 lakh Vodafone and Airtel retail outlets including franchisee owned shops. This rollout would be mammoth when compared to iPhones being available only in about 7000 AT&T outlets in the US apart from the Apple Stores.

“Most phone makers want their products in as many stores as possible and Apple is changing its strategy from exclusivity to wider availability,” said an analyst from a brokerage house who did not wish to be named. Airtel announced yesterday that they would be selling iPhones in India. Earlier Vodafone inked a deal last week to rollout iPhones in 10 countries including India.

Read more > HERE

iPhonAsia comment:

It is apparent that iPhone will be available by multiple carriers in all major markets and at least two carriers will offer iPhone in India (Bharti AirTel and Vodafone).  Our understanding is that 1 lakh translates to 100,000 … The Ryaz.net article states that iphone will be available through 2.5 lakh (which translates to 250,000) distribution points. Perhaps something was lost in our translation as this number (250,000) is not realistic even in a nation as populace as India. We suspect something like 25,000 is possible albeit this is also a mammoth number of distribution points. Update: Sources have confirmed the 250,000 points of distribution in India.

India is a highly competitive cellular market with many low cost plans. For a more detailed analysis of the Indian wireless markets, visit iPhonAsia post featuring video and audio interviews with Duncan Clark, Chairman BDA. The NPR interview at the bottom of this post contains discussion of the India wireless market.

NPR Interview with Duncan Clark, Chairman of BDA Connect

BDA Telecom Market Review > HERE

5 Responses to “Updated: iPhone in India – Bharti Airtel readies iPhone 3GS launch”

  1. Dan Butterfield says:

    Hey Ken … I’m on permanent vacation ;)

  2. Its the reality that this technology become so cheap that anyone can take advantage from this.Once it was a dream that every body has a cell phone,but now its remarkable progress that Airtel announce selling iPhones in India.

  3. KenC says:

    Dan, when are you getting back from vacation?

  4. Dan Butterfield says:

    @niji From what I’ve heard, Softbank no longer has iPhone exclusivity in Japan and I would not be surprised to see a deal with Docomo … perhaps as soon as summer 2010

  5. niji says:

    hi
    i agree, in all markets where contracts with the original exclusive have come up for renewal, i cant think of any market where apple has kept exclusivity, other than att in the usa.
    but my question is about japan: docomo seems interested, but is there any rumor about softbank losing exclusivity?
    the reason why i am interested is that i want to buy a carrier free, non-locked iPhone through softbank and have their iPhone plan for while i am in japan, and also have a Unicom plan for when i am in China, using the same handset.
    thanks for your site. its really valuable.

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