Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Anyone for a Rs. 31000 ($750) iPhone?

I use Vodafone India as my mobile service provider and I have pre-registered for iPhone on their website a while back. Airtel and Vodafone start selling iPhone in India on 22nd August which is just 2 days from now.

I today got a sms and an email from Vodafone that my wait is over and I can deposit advance to get iPhone within a few days. However I almost dropped my existing phone (Treo 680) after reading the price for the iPhone. They want to make me poorer by Rs. 31000 for 8GB model and want a whopping Rs. 36100 for 16GB model. Is this some kind of joke???

Well I think they have managed to do an unthinkable here. A lot of rumours were doing round till today about the would be price for iPhone in India. Some guessed it to be around Rs. 8000, as that's how much an iPhone with contract costs in US. Some guessed it to be around Rs. 25000, but nobody thought that they will be beating all the expectations and sell the iPhone at such high prices. Well good luck to Apple, Vodafone and Airtel, but I am not going to buy iPhone for that price.

I also doubt that Airtel and Vodafone are going to sell unlocked iPhone in India, if they are then its defeats the purpose of selling iPhones via an operator. And if its a locked model then why don't they just bundle the phone with some service contract and subcidise the phone? I think a bundled but cheaper iPhone will be a win-win situation for everybody inclusing consumers, operators and manufacturer.

May be they are just trying to cash in on the hype and once the dust settles down, they are either going to lower the prices substantially or start offering cheaper iPhone bundled with a data/service plan.

I have been on Vodafone for 6 yrs. now and intend to stay on for a few more years to come, but I guess Vodafone is not much interested in keeping its loyal customer base intact by offering them yearly service contracts bundled with a cheaper iPhone. All said and done my wait for iPhone is still not over :-(

4 comments:

JamesW said...

they are either going to lower the prices substantially or start offering cheaper iPhone bundled with a data/service plan.

How many Indians would be happy with a typical UK plan for a cheap iPhone? For a £99 phone (about $199) you either pay £30 per month for a terrible plan, or £35 for a somewhat better plan. That's 2,800R per month, and 16R per minute for local calls once you use up your allowance. You have to sign up for a minimum 18 months too.

I don't think that Indians are being especially ripped off here. The iPhone is an expensive phone. In the West the cost is hidden in the contract. In India the phone is unsubsidised, so you see the real price. I do agree with you that it should be unlocked in such circumstances.

Sachin Palewar said...

James, Thanks a lot for stopping by my blog and taking time to post your comment. However I will still say that I think iPhone is being overpriced in India. I never said that Rs. 8000 or $199 would have been a fair price.

iSuppli, a Market Research firm has reportedly said that iPhone is being subsidized by operators to the tune of $300. Adding $300 to $199 comes to around $500 or INR 20000 which I think would have been a fair price. My expectations were in range of Rs. 15000 - Rs. 20000.

So I still think that an unsubsidized iPhone at $750 is overpriced.

John Kneeland said...

Moreover if it's going to be unsubsidized, then it should be unlocked.

As an American who moved to Bangalore (wheee!) I was sure to bring my old AT&T 2G iPhone with me and SIM-unlock it.

I was really looking forward to getting the 3G iPhone, mostly for the GPS (I can't count the number of times I've gotten lost in India). But at this price, I don't think I have a choice but to wait someone to crack the iPhone 3G's SIM-lock and get another subsidized iPhone courtesy of AT&T.

Sachin Palewar said...

John,

Thanks for your comments. I agree with you, I think its definitely unfair to sell a locked unsubsidized phone. Not sure if it can be termed as illegal though, if it is, they should be definitely sued.

So what brings you to India? I am not sure how helpful GPS can be in India :-). Poor quality maps, unorganized roads and quickly changing landscape everywhere may lead to it not being that useful. We shall see.

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