Apple’s iPhone 4 will finally be available in India on May 27th after nearly one year of its launch in the US. The phone will be available in 16GB and 32GB models from Airtel and Aircel.
iPhone 4 will be available for both postpaid and prepaid subscribers however, the special tariff plans the operators will be offering is something which is more interesting. Aircel has officially announced iPhone 4 bill plans while Airtel is yet to share more details. We believe that Airtel will offer almost similar plans when compared with Aircel.
The telecom operators have come up with a marketing gimmick which claims that you could “get the iPhone 4 practically for free!” You would need to sign up for a two year postpaid plan with the operator and earn discounts every month.
The price of iPhone 4 in India is set at Rs. 34,500 ($761) for 16GB model and Rs. 40,900 ($901) for 32GB model. So, after you pay the total cost of the handset you will get only four bill plans to choose from.
Aircel is specifically offering “Advantage Plans 50% Money Back” and “premium Plans 100% Money Back”. Now, why we called this a ‘marketing gimmick’ is because the plans for iPhone 4 are priced unreasonably high. For example, if you buy 32GB iPhone 4 and opt for 100% money back then your monthly rental would be Rs. 2510 ($55) but the company will offer “discounts” of Rs. 1710 ($38) per month for 24 months so the net amount you will be paying would be Rs. 800 ($18). Sounds good? Well what happens after 24 months? Will you still be locked to the operator? When we reached out to Aircel customer support they said that after the two years you would need to pay the original monthly rental.
Now, its important to note that in India an average postpaid subscribers monthly bill plan would be approx. Rs. 1100 ($24) including data services (just fixed charges not including additional usage). So, charging unreasonably high monthly rental and then offering discounts just doesn’t sound right to us.
It’s not clear if Apple wanted to charge more for the iPhone and as a result these operators are subsidizing the smartphone in India by offering expensive monthly plans.
Apple is known for delaying the launch of iPhones and iPads in India however, iPad 2 launching in the country in less than 2 months after international launch was a welcome change.
It will be interesting to see how Indian customers react to the new tariff plans. iPhone 5 could launch as early as September and many iPhone fans would have already purchased the phone from grey market. So, we are not sure about how successful the launch of iPhone 4 will turn out to be in India.