Reliance and TATA to introduce CDMA iPhone in India?

Apple is widely expected to release CDMA version of iPhone in January. We have reported on many rumors which suggest that Verizon will offer CDMA iPhone in the U.S and now WSJ is reporting that two Indian CDMA carriers have been in talks with Apple to launch the new iPhone on their network.

India currently has more than 670 million wireless users and GSM is certainly the preferred technology, however 20% of the total users still use CDMA phones. Bharti Airtel Ltd. and Vodafone Essar Ltd. currently offer the iPhone 3GS in India and will be launching iPhone 4 later this month.

According to the report published on WSJ “Apple is in talks with Reliance Communications Ltd. and Tata Teleservices Ltd., whose networks run on CDMA technology. The discussions come amid news that Apple is making a CDMA version of its iPhone that Verizon Wireless will sell early next year in the U.S.”

Sources familiar with this matter have said:

“Tata has been in talks with them [Apple] for four to five months now,”

Apple’s iPhone wasn’t able to capture significant market share in India as it accounted for less than 1% of the smartphone market share in the first half of 2010, said Mr. Chiam, senior analyst at research firm Canalys, while on the other hand Nokia shipped 1.8 million smartphones which accounted for 71% of the market.

The telecom industry in India is witnessing major growth as 3G services will be rolled out by major networks in the first week of November. It will be interesting to see if Apple decides to offer CDMA version of iPhone in India and if that will help in improving the sales.

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