iPhone 4 Finally Coming to India

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    Posted: 25 May 2011 03:58 PM

    As reported by BGR.in, 337 days after the original release in the United States and other European countries, the iPhone 4 will finally launch in India this Friday, May 27.

    The iPhone 4 will be available at Rs. 34,500 ($760) for the 16 GB model and Rs. 40,900 ($900) for the 32 GB one. Unlike most carriers worldwide, Aircel will apply a ?reverse subsidized? payment model, through which users pay the full cost of the iPhone upfront, and get a full refund with credits over the next two years.

    http://www.macstories.net/news/iphone-4-finally-coming-to-india-this-friday/

    Bharti (AirTEL) had 159 million mobile subscribers as of end-February, while Aircel had 53.5 million…But smartphones are estimated to account for just over 5 percent of the mobile handset sales.

    http://in.reuters.com/article/2011/04/11/india-bharti-iphone-idINL3E7FB1UP20110411

    Airtel who had vaguely mentioned bringing iPhone 4?s into India last month, seems to have started the pre-registrations for iPhone 4, thus becoming the first operator to do so.

    http://thenextweb.com/in/2011/05/06/iphone-4-is-finally-coming-to-india-airtel-kicks-off-pre-registrations/

    Anyone know the cell phone landscape in India? Can they sell a million this first month? Hopefully the larger carrier isn’t far behind.

         
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    Posted: 25 May 2011 04:51 PM #1

    Drew Bear - 25 May 2011 06:58 PM

    As reported by BGR.in, 337 days after the original release in the United States and other European countries, the iPhone 4 will finally launch in India this Friday, May 27.

    The iPhone 4 will be available at Rs. 34,500 ($760) for the 16 GB model and Rs. 40,900 ($900) for the 32 GB one. Unlike most carriers worldwide, Aircel will apply a ?reverse subsidized? payment model, through which users pay the full cost of the iPhone upfront, and get a full refund with credits over the next two years.

    http://www.macstories.net/news/iphone-4-finally-coming-to-india-this-friday/

    Bharti (AirTEL) had 159 million mobile subscribers as of end-February, while Aircel had 53.5 million…But smartphones are estimated to account for just over 5 percent of the mobile handset sales.

    http://in.reuters.com/article/2011/04/11/india-bharti-iphone-idINL3E7FB1UP20110411

    Airtel who had vaguely mentioned bringing iPhone 4?s into India last month, seems to have started the pre-registrations for iPhone 4, thus becoming the first operator to do so.

    http://thenextweb.com/in/2011/05/06/iphone-4-is-finally-coming-to-india-airtel-kicks-off-pre-registrations/

    Anyone know the cell phone landscape in India? Can they sell a million this first month? Hopefully the larger carrier isn’t far behind.

    I wouldn’t expect anywhere close to 1M from India, but 3G service is just launching in India with a total of 9M 3G customers across all providers.

         
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    Posted: 25 May 2011 06:40 PM #2

    adamthompson3232 - 25 May 2011 09:08 PM

    Pats, nonetheless, it is great for apple to get into India in a big way at the ground floor of the 3G ramp.

    I agree, but they have sold in India for a number of years.  The growth of 3G should expand the market for Apple.  This is a huge market and the 3G penetration should accelerate as folks realize the advantages of mobile data.

         
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    Posted: 26 May 2011 12:30 AM #3

    pats - 25 May 2011 09:40 PM
    adamthompson3232 - 25 May 2011 09:08 PM

    Pats, nonetheless, it is great for apple to get into India in a big way at the ground floor of the 3G ramp.

    I agree, but they have sold in India for a number of years.  The growth of 3G should expand the market for Apple.  This is a huge market and the 3G penetration should accelerate as folks realize the advantages of mobile data.

    Apple has ZERO presence in India - smartphone penetration is very low and dominated by Blackberrys because of BBM. Samsung and LG are huge brands in India and they are pushing their phones pretty hard with the recent 3G launch nationwide.

    Apple needs to hit the reset button in India and figure out a new strategy - so far it’s not been an issue because they haven’t been able to keep up with demand in other countries - but if they miss the 3G launch hype, it will be tough for them to come back to get any market share.

         
  • Posted: 26 May 2011 05:11 AM #4

    AHHA - 26 May 2011 03:30 AM
    pats - 25 May 2011 09:40 PM
    adamthompson3232 - 25 May 2011 09:08 PM

    Pats, nonetheless, it is great for apple to get into India in a big way at the ground floor of the 3G ramp.

    I agree, but they have sold in India for a number of years.  The growth of 3G should expand the market for Apple.  This is a huge market and the 3G penetration should accelerate as folks realize the advantages of mobile data.

    Apple has ZERO presence in India - smartphone penetration is very low and dominated by Blackberrys because of BBM. Samsung and LG are huge brands in India and they are pushing their phones pretty hard with the recent 3G launch nationwide.

    Apple needs to hit the reset button in India and figure out a new strategy - so far it’s not been an issue because they haven’t been able to keep up with demand in other countries - but if they miss the 3G launch hype, it will be tough for them to come back to get any market share.

    The problem with India is that it doesn’t have a very large population of consumers with incomes high enough to purchase Apple products.  Half are below the poverty line, and much of the rest isn’t far above it. A lot of skilled, educated people leave the country for high paying jobs elsewhere. Nonetheless, India is growing extremely fast which will lift consumer incomes in relatively short time. One aspect that is promising is that iPhone 4 upfront cost will be refunded over the life of the contract (depending on plan).

    RIM has seen some success in India, mostly due to cheap prices of its 2G models. 3G phones carry much higher costs. I think some of Apple’s thinking behind a cheaper iPhone model (nano if you will) is to address markets such as India. I believe that if a cheaper iPhone version ever sees the light of day, it would only be sold in emerging markets such as India, probably as well as Africa, East Europe, SA, and parts of Asia.

    Apple could benefit establishing a brand foothold in some of these markets even among the cheaper devices. Since these products are only ones in reach for most consumers, they will build familiarity and loyalty to the brands. Yet, as incomes rise, premium devices will become popular and brands that have long been present will have that foothold as an advantage,

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    Posted: 26 May 2011 11:05 AM #5

    turleymuller - 26 May 2011 08:11 AM
    AHHA - 26 May 2011 03:30 AM
    pats - 25 May 2011 09:40 PM
    adamthompson3232 - 25 May 2011 09:08 PM

    Pats, nonetheless, it is great for apple to get into India in a big way at the ground floor of the 3G ramp.

    I agree, but they have sold in India for a number of years.  The growth of 3G should expand the market for Apple.  This is a huge market and the 3G penetration should accelerate as folks realize the advantages of mobile data.

    Apple has ZERO presence in India - smartphone penetration is very low and dominated by Blackberrys because of BBM. Samsung and LG are huge brands in India and they are pushing their phones pretty hard with the recent 3G launch nationwide.

    Apple needs to hit the reset button in India and figure out a new strategy - so far it’s not been an issue because they haven’t been able to keep up with demand in other countries - but if they miss the 3G launch hype, it will be tough for them to come back to get any market share.

    The problem with India is that it doesn’t have a very large population of consumers with incomes high enough to purchase Apple products.  Half are below the poverty line, and much of the rest isn’t far above it. A lot of skilled, educated people leave the country for high paying jobs elsewhere. Nonetheless, India is growing extremely fast which will lift consumer incomes in relatively short time. One aspect that is promising is that iPhone 4 upfront cost will be refunded over the life of the contract (depending on plan).

    RIM has seen some success in India, mostly due to cheap prices of its 2G models. 3G phones carry much higher costs. I think some of Apple’s thinking behind a cheaper iPhone model (nano if you will) is to address markets such as India. I believe that if a cheaper iPhone version ever sees the light of day, it would only be sold in emerging markets such as India, probably as well as Africa, East Europe, SA, and parts of Asia.

    Apple could benefit establishing a brand foothold in some of these markets even among the cheaper devices. Since these products are only ones in reach for most consumers, they will build familiarity and loyalty to the brands. Yet, as incomes rise, premium devices will become popular and brands that have long been present will have that foothold as an advantage,

    An interesting study on the future of the India Consumer, back in 2007 they predicted the Indian middle class would grow from 50M to 583M by 2025.  The ‘Bird of Gold’ : The Rise of India’s Consumer Market

         
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    Posted: 26 May 2011 02:12 PM #6

    turleymuller - 26 May 2011 08:11 AM

    The problem with India is that it doesn’t have a very large population of consumers with incomes high enough to purchase Apple products.  Half are below the poverty line, and much of the rest isn’t far above it.

    You could almost say the same thing about China. It’s certainly true in both countries that only a very small percentage of the population could “afford” to buy an iPhone. But a small percentage of a billion people is still a lot of people. There are clearly differences between the two countries, so I’m uncertain whether Apple’s success in China can be mirrored in India. I don’t think we’ll really know until Apple starts opening stores in India.

         
  • Posted: 26 May 2011 04:54 PM #7

    Drew Bear - 25 May 2011 06:58 PM

    Anyone know the cell phone landscape in India? Can they sell a million this first month? Hopefully the larger carrier isn’t far behind.


    I don’t spend as much time in India as I do in Bangladesh, but can say that there is a rapidly growing middle and upper middle class in India. Cell phone use is widespread throughout South Asia. It’s not uncommon anymore to see a rickshaw puller using his mobile phone to coordinate with clients (or his chums).

    The smartphone market is obviously smaller, but is being aggressively targeted by Samsung, and others. RIM have only recently entered the market but have name-brand recognition, and thus are rapidly expanding (cannot provide numbers or percentages here).

    Two things auger well for smartphone growth in India, and a third make the near and mid-term shape of that growth difficult to predict.

    1) The middle classes in India (there is important substructure here - it’s not a monolith) tend to be well-connected by family ties and personal travel to the West (UK & USA in particular). Trends in those parts of the world, as well as personal exposure by the well-travelled affect tastes and habits. As purchasing power has increased, Indians have been quick to spend on goods and services, including cars, homes, TVs, fridges, computers, internet, etc. 

    2) Smartphones in general are catching on rapidly amongst the affluent, for both personal and business use. RIM, predictably, have been targeting the enterprise. Other companies (Samsung, HTC, Nokia) have been going after the consumer, but advertising their devices in the workplace as well. Nokia have a strong presence. While Apple’s presence in India today is minimal (I would not say non-exsitent), it is very well known. People appear to like Apple products (a lot of Apple product placement in Indian entertainment industry), and see them as desirable. Thus, there is knowledge and interest.

    These two things suggest growth in smartphones, and opportunity for Apple. But there is a caveat.

    3) India is a complex economic environment, with a number of challenges to its growth (population size and fertility rate, agriculture, sectarian divisions, political corruption, regional tensions being often cited). Inflation and spiralling commodity prices threaten discretionary spending in the near term, but less so amongst the upper middle classes, who are buying the smartphones.

    That RIM have managed to do business in India would suggest that Apple can as well. I would think growth would be slow at first (yes, IM sales in I month is feasible, but ambitious), and may not have quite the trajectory as that in China, but I would think it steady. Can Apple sell 1M in the first month?

    This is a longish way of saying, from someone who lives most months of the year in the region, “Maybe”.

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    Posted: 26 May 2011 09:01 PM #8

    Subscriber numbers for Aircel and Airtel vary, but it seems safe to say they have at minimum a combined total of 200 million. Maybe Apple will hit 1 million iPhone 4 sales in India this quarter. Is this a big enough deal to require revisions for iPhone sales estimates?

    Airtel Launching Unlocked iPhone 4 In India Tonight

    India?s leading telecom operator with over 220 million customers has announced a ?grand launch tonight at 12am, DLF Promenade mall courtyard, Vasant Kunj.?

    It?s interesting to note that both, Aircel and Airtel are offering ?reverse subsidy? by giving discounts on the monthly bill plan for a period of 24 months. Apple?s iPhone 4 will be sold unlocked by the operators and you could use the phone with any GSM operator offering micro SIM cards. The benefit of signing up with Airtel or Aircel is that you can enjoy monthly discounts.

    http://touchreviews.net/airtel-iphone-4-india-unlocked/

         
  • Posted: 27 May 2011 04:35 AM #9

    It all adds to the bottom line smile and really love it smile

    India has a growing Middle Class and that means there is a lot of potential :D
    To start even a few millions Iphones in a country with such a huge Population is a great start :D

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    Posted: 27 May 2011 05:37 AM #10

    Drew - IIRC, with an addressable market of over 210 million mobile subscribers popping up overnight for iPhone 4 (160-ish million for Airtel, and another 50-ish million for Aircel per Wikipedia), you pretty much have to factor the India launch into your Q3 thinking.  3G may start off slow, but iPhone, more or less being priced the same as every other smartphone, will grab a nice chunk of that 3G market, and as 3G adoption inevitably grows, the India market will be harder and harder to ignore.

    How many sold in the next 4 weeks or so before the fiscal quarter ends?  Anyone’s guess, but a million sold doesn’t sound too out there at all.  I can easily see 500,000 units selling to a new market a little bigger than AT&T and Verizon combined within a month’s time. 

    The Airtel/Aircel launches are causing a material upward revision in my iPhone numbers, for sure.

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    Posted: 27 May 2011 07:11 AM #11

    Mav - 27 May 2011 08:37 AM

    Drew - IIRC, with an addressable market of over 210 million mobile subscribers popping up overnight for iPhone 4 (160-ish million for Airtel, and another 50-ish million for Aircel per Wikipedia), you pretty much have to factor the India launch into your Q3 thinking.  3G may start off slow, but iPhone, more or less being priced the same as every other smartphone, will grab a nice chunk of that 3G market, and as 3G adoption inevitably grows, the India market will be harder and harder to ignore.

    How many sold in the next 4 weeks or so before the fiscal quarter ends?  Anyone’s guess, but a million sold doesn’t sound too out there at all.  I can easily see 500,000 units selling to a new market a little bigger than AT&T and Verizon combined within a month’s time. 

    The Airtel/Aircel launches are causing a material upward revision in my iPhone numbers, for sure.

    Let’s not forget that the iPhone 4 is still an incredible device even when operating on 2g networks.

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