Apple's iPhone has made a quiet entry into India, the world's fastest
growing mobile market. But as Anjana Pasricha reports from New Delhi,
the iPhone's high price appears to have deterred many potential
Only a scant crowd turned up for the midnight
launch of Apple's iPhone in New Delhi Friday. It included a high school
student, who said he wants to show off the gadget in school, and an
entrepreneur who bought six sets for himself and his friends.
saw a handful more customers like executive, Abhishek Jain, turn up at
a New Delhi store to buy the iPhone. Jain is hugely impressed by the
device, which combines a music and video player, cellphone and web
"No other phone can match it," he said. "This is
the best phone available in the world. I am very excited, I am very,
But there was no sign of people queuing up for
hours, or the kind of craze witnessed when the iPhone was launched in
several European and Asian countries last month.
Part of the
reason is the cost - the iPhone is selling for over $700 in India,
triple its price in the United States. That is because unlike the
United States, Indian mobile operators are not subsidizing the phone.
one of the companies which launched the iPhone, has shrugged off the
high price tag, saying it is targeting the "high-end achiever and youth
But many young people, like Ankita Chaudhury, doubt whether they will buy the iPhone anytime soon.
"I don't know if I want to buy it or not because it's priced pretty high," she said.
Chief editor at technology publisher CyberMedia, Prasanto K. Roy, says the price will impact sales.
are lots of people who have been waiting for two years for this, and
they are going to put down the money," he said. "But the numbers are
clearly not going to be anywhere near what we could have expected, not
simply because of the price itself, but because there is visibility of
price worldwide, and this is three times the U.S. price, so you can
actually order it off e-Bay including customs duty, so that actually
puts quite a dampener on the whole thing."
In fact, according to
a recent survey, 150,000 iPhones, bought in other countries, are
already being used in India. The phones can be unlocked with software
easily available in the gray market.
But the companies selling
the iPhone are hoping that people will now prefer to buy it in India to
get full benefits such as the guarantee.
The model being sold
in India is the same as that launched in other markets - the 3G or
third generation phone, although India has yet to launch 3G networks.
is one of the biggest markets for mobile handsets - 95 million were
sold last year. Most of these are lower priced phones, but there is
also a huge demand for high-end phones among the growing numbers of
wealthy and middle class people in the country.