Archive for the ‘iPhone in India’ Category

Update – January 22, 2009: Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster now believes a new iPhone model may be coming in June. More > HERE

Via Jim Goldman’s TechCheck blog: “We (Piper Jaffray) cut our estimates on iPhone, but it’s more of a shift. The expectations of having a March launch of a new form factor looks less likely.” He spoke to a manufacturing source in Asia which says new components will be delivered to Apple in late March or early April which means a new phone might not come until June. Gene was expecting that new phone in March. So, “We pulled the plug on our 45 million unit sales estimate for (calendar) 2009. There’s just no way without that March release.” His new calendar 2009 estimate is 28 million iPhone units. In 2010, he ups the figure by around 15 percent to 32 million.

Apple (AAPL) Q1 2009 Earnings Call – Discussion re Prepaid Markets

iPhonAsia comment:  During today’s (January 21, 2009) Apple (AAPL) Q1 2009 earnings conference call, Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster asked Apple’s Chief Operating Officer Tim Cook about Apple’s strategy for entering “non-subsidized” markets. Q1 2009  earnings call transcript > HERE

To provide a bit of background and context … “non-subsidized” or “prepaid” markets are those where the majority of cell phone users are not on any fee-for-service contract with their wireless service provider.  Prepaid customers typically purchase cell phones at full retail price without any type of carrier subsidy. The carrier has no motivation to subsidize (sell mobile phones below market price to the customer) handsets since the customer can simply walk away from the “prepaid” service relationship at any time.

Prepaid users are often on a tight budget and buy their “air-time” as they need it. In most markets, prepaid customers do not have to pay a deposit for cellular service. Topping up prepaid accounts is often done by going online, by phone, bank-machine or through the purchase of a pre-paid SIM card. 

The largest “prepaid” cellular markets in the world are India, China, Indonesia, and greater Asia. Between China and India there are estimated to be more than 600 million prepaid customers. China Mobile alone has more than 290 million prepaid customers.

Here is the “Q&A” exchange (a close paraphrase) between Gene Munster and Tim Cook:

Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster

Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster


Gene Munster: “Hey good afternoon and congratulations (Apple had outstanding earnings). If you talk about the pricing environment to the pricing umbrella on the iPhone … if you look at your addressable market of almost 1,000,000,000 subscribers that you currently address, about 60% of them are in “un-subsidized” or “non-contractual” (a.k.a. “prepaid”) markets. Are those markets that you are potentially interested in? How should we think about an addressable market if they (prepaid markets) are a market that you are basically priced too high for?”

Apple COO Tim Cook

Apple COO Tim Cook


Tim Cook:  “Gene, it’s Tim.  We are now in over 70 countries with the iPhone and you are correct, some of those countries are non-subsidized markets.  The largest example of that would be India in terms of the size of the non-subsidized market. And our sales are clearly materially less in those markets (e.g. in India) than in the subsidized markets that have post-pay contracts. And so we are constantly evaluating the best way to play in these markets. We know that there is a huge market opportunity there. And we’ll make adjustments in the future accordingly to play in a stronger way.”

Gene Munster: “Okay, so when you talk about no pricing umbrella, you are referring more towards the subsidized markets verses the non-subsidized markets?”

Tim Cook: “Yes, and clearly you know we are not going to play in the low-end voice phone (dumb phone) business. You know that is not who we are, and not why we are here. We will let somebody else do that. Our objective is not to be the unit share leader in the cell phone industry. It is to build the world’s best phone!”

See also

Unsurprisingly, Apple not interested in low-end voice phone market

Posted January 21, 2009 6:51 PM by Chris Howard

picture-113During the latest quarterly conference call, and in an answer to a question about a cheaper iPhone, Tim Cook said “We’re not going to play in the low-end voice phone business. That’s not who we are, that’s not why we’re here. Goal is not to lead unit sales, but to build the world’s best phone.”

This shouldn’t surprise at all. All this says is Apple’s not competing in the dime-a-dozen phones. It is no way a comment about an iPhone nano.

The rumored and desired iPhone nano is still a smartphone. It would just lack a few features for those who dont’ need an iPhone with the lot. For example, it might have no GPS or WiFi. It also might be slightly smaller.

But it should definitely still be a smartphone.

So, we can still live in hope that the iPhone nano is planned.


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iPhonAsia comment: As the post below notes, iPhone may soon be launched through a new carrier in India –  BSNL.  Will this launch be accompanied by significantly different pricing and distribution strategies? The crystal ball says “perhaps yes.”  And who knows … we might even see a new model iPhone in 2009 that will be ideally suited for markets with vast numbers of pre-pay customers … such as India and China.

Why has iPhone thus far encountered a teipd reception in India?

#1 reason is price … India is a price sensitive market and The 8GB version costs Rs. 31,000 ($710) while the 16GB iPhone is priced at Rs. 36,100 ($825). The corresponding prices in the U.S. are $199 and $299. Given this price disparity, arbitrage possibilities abound. At the 30,000 Rs. price level, “suppliers” in India have healthy incentive to acquire iPhones in the US for smuggle/re-sale in India’s black-market.

Reason #2 is lack of handset subsidies in India (another variation on the pricing issue)… Unlike in the U.S. and other countries, carriers in India do not subsidize handsets. As a point of comparison, AT&T subsidizes the iPhone price in the U.S. and recovers the subsidy amount from subscribers during a two-year contract “lock-in” period. The ARPU (average revenue per user) for AT&T is north of $50. In India, Airtel has an ARPU of Rs. 357 ($8.16) and Vodafone’s is Rs. 350 ($7.99). The slim ARPUs in India leave little room for handset subsidies. 

iPhone 3G in India: BSNL to launch iPhones by Dec

picture-32Kolkata, The country’s largest telecom operator, Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL), will introduce Apple’s iPhone for its subscribers across the country by December along with the launch of the third generation network, according to SK Chakravarty, chief general manager of Calcutta Telephones. “On September 30, we will have a meeting of the circle heads where we may take a decision on making iPhones available to our consumers,” said Chakravarty.

One of the issues that the national BSNL meet will discuss is regarding the roll out of the 3G network by the end of this year.

BSNL and MTNL are the first two government operators to get 3G licence. At present, iPhone is available for Vodaphone and Airtel customers only. “iPhone is a 3G phone and we think that unless we have a 3G network, its full potential can’t be utilised by customers,” said Chakraborty. BSNL is investing around Rs 2,500 crore in creating the 3G network, where the share of east and north is Rs 1,000 crore and that of west and south is approximately Rs 1,500 crore.

Ericsson will roll out the network for east and north, while Alcatel and Huwei will be responsible for west and south, respectively. According to a senior BSNL executive, by the end of this year, all the district headquarters in the country will have the 3G-network connection. “We will work towards this and there should not be any problem to achieve the target,” he said.


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May 14th, 2008 Venkatesh Ganesh writes in Rayaz.ne

Full article > HERE

EXCERPT: The rollout of Apple, Inc’s iPhones in India is set to be the largest, anywhere in the world. It is understood from industry sources that Apple’s iPhones will be sold through about 2.5 lakh Vodafone and Airtel retail outlets including franchisee owned shops. This rollout would be mammoth when compared to iPhones being available only in about 7000 AT&T outlets in the US apart from the Apple Stores.

“Most phone makers want their products in as many stores as possible and Apple is changing its strategy from exclusivity to wider availability,” said an analyst from a brokerage house who did not wish to be named. Airtel announced yesterday that they would be selling iPhones in India. Earlier Vodafone inked a deal last week to rollout iPhones in 10 countries including India.

Read more > HERE

iPhonAsia comment:

It is apparent that iPhone will be available by multiple carriers in all major markets and at least two carriers will offer iPhone in India (Bharti AirTel and Vodafone).  Our understanding is that 1 lakh translates to 100,000 … The Ryaz.net article states that iphone will be available through 2.5 lakh (which translates to 250,000) distribution points. Perhaps something was lost in our translation as this number (250,000) is not realistic even in a nation as populace as India. We suspect something like 25,000 is possible albeit this is also a mammoth number of distribution points. Update: Sources have confirmed the 250,000 points of distribution in India.  

India is a highly competitive cellular market with many low cost plans. For a more detailed analysis of the Indian wireless markets, visit iPhonAsia post featuring video and audio interviews with Duncan Clark, Chairman BDA. The NPR interview at the bottom of this post contains discussion of the India wireless market.

NPR Interview with Duncan Clark, Chairman of BDA Connect

BDA Telecom Market Review > HERE 


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The SingTel Group launch will involve seven different carriers in as many nations and bring iPhone to a subscriber base of 136 million.  Apple conveniently has a major campus in Singapore.


via TUAW

In a singularly uninformative press release, SingTel, Singapore’s largest telecommunications company, has announced that it is bringing the iPhone to “Singapore, India, the Philippines and Australia later this year” through several subsidiary carrier brands: SingTel, Bharti Airtel, Globe and Optus. 

iPhonAsia Comment: For those who follow iPhonAsia regularly, you will know that we have been reporting on the rumored Apple and SingTel partnership for months.  Here are a few links to relevant articles posted on iPhonAsia >

SingTel to bring iPhone to Pacific Rim?

SingTel to bring iPhone to Singapore

Optus and Vodafone in Australia?

Optus as Australia’s iPhone carrier?

iPhone in Australia: Apple and Telstra? Don’t bet on it!

iPhone Coming to Australia

Engadget Reports the AIS iPhone in Thailand Rumors




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logo.gif via tuaw.com …

60 “iStores” will open across India

Posted Mar 7th 2008 8:00AM by Dave Caolo
Filed under: Retail

There’s a huge push in India right now by Reliance Digital to open 60 iStores across the nation’s top twenty cities. The iStores will sell Apple products exclusively, and carry the full line, from consumer products to pro hardware.

Expect to see all sixty stores up and running within the next 18 months. We wonder how the interior design will look, and if it will resemble official Apple Stores.



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