Ever since Apple launched the iPhone 3G S on June 19 ’09, people in India (the world’s second largest mobile handset market) have been wondering about it’s launch here in India. However, Apple and the two authorized Indian carriers for the iPhone, Vodafone and Airtel, have maintained a tight-lipped silence on the matter.
Vodafone and Airtel are probably hoping that a quiet, unobtrusive entry into the market may be a better bet than the over-the-top iPhone 3G launch last year. Even though the launch had created a buzz, Vodafone and Airtel got slammed for pricing the iPhone 3G exorbitantly high. As a result, iPhone 3G sales were lukewarm at most. So much so that they had to introduce installment plans to induce people into buying. [Read more →]
Vodafone has slashed the prices of iPhone 3G on the day of its launch in India. Two days before the launch on 22nd August, Vodafone and Airtel announced that the iPhone 3G would be available at INR 31,000 for the 8GB version and INR 36,100 for the 16GB variant. However, when I went to a Vodafone store to buy one for me, I was told that Vodafone had reduced the prices.
Vodafone’s new prices are INR 29,640 for 8GB and INR 34,580 for the 16GB version. That’s a reduction of INR 1360 and INR 1520 on the 8 and 16GB variants respectively.
I reckon the price reduction could be due to either one or both of the following reasons:
- After the prices were announced on 20the August, “experts” after “experts” went on and on in the media about how this was a daylight robbery and that the prices in the US were about 4 times cheaper. Of course, none of them cared to explain the reason for the cheap prices in the US, i.e. that low price was possible because the customers had to agree to be bound by a 2-year lock-in period with a monthly tariff of at least $69.99. But this hue and cry over the high, unsubsidized prices in India would have left the Vodafone officials worried over potentially losing customers.
- Vodafone might have tried to undercut its competition (Airtel) by launching with reduced prices. This is of course based on the premise that Airtel has not slashed prices like Vodafone. There were rumours that Vodafone might get a 15-day headstart for its iPhone 3G sales in India over Airtel since Vodafone enjoyed a worldwide tie-up with Apple to sell the iPhones as against an India-specific tie-up that Airtel entered into with Apple. But these rumours were quashed when 22nd August was announced as the common launch date thereby nullifying any advantage for Vodafone. So it may be possible that Vodafone went ahead with a pricing strategy instead of a first-to-market strategy. By the way, the iPhone 3G packaging shows a M.R.P. of INR 36,000.
Either ways, price cuts are always good. Especially in these inflationary times! So I am not complaining. Why would I?! … I now have the sleek li’l beauty – my 16GB iPhone 3G, in my pocket right now! ;-)
Vodafone has sent out SMSes to the people, who had pre-registered for the iPhone 3G, informing them about the prices and the ordering process for this year’s hottest mobile device, the iPhone 3G.
Vodafone will offer the 8GB version for INR 31,000, while the 16GB version will be available for INR 36,100.
The iPhone 3G buying experience (at least for Vodafone) will be different from what the world experienced on 11 Jul 2008. There won’t be serpentine queues with people hoping against hope that the stocks last at least until their turn arrives. Vodafone’s SMS asks its potential iPhone 3G customers to visit their stores on 20 and 21 August to make a down-payment of INR 10,000. On making this down-payment, the customer will be given an appointment, starting 22 August 2008, to visit the store to collect their shiny new iPhone 3G instrument after paying the balance amount. Hmmm… now that is a semblance of order instead of the chaotic launch of the device worldwide on 11 July earlier this year.
Vodafone’s iPhone webpage says that they have limited stocks. That is a load of crap! Vodafone should have had a good idea of the stocks they might need based on the number of pre-registered customers. Any half-decent business will know how to manage their stock inventory based on such information. So the “limited stocks” claim is nothing more than a ploy to generate hype, especially since the price Vodafone have quoted is much higher than the rumoured prices.
It would be interesting to know the iPhone prices offered by Airtel. It will put the Vodafone prices in perspective. Also worth knowing will be the Airtel strategy to sell the instruments. Can anyone knowing these details please leave a comment here?
Finally, just a reminder to all those who are planning to buy the iPhone 3G for use in India. Remember that either Vodafone or Airtel do not offer 3G services yet. So some of the iPhone 3G features will be unusable at least for now. Going ahead, of course, when these operators provide 3G services, you can use them.
P.S.: Nokia have announced the launch of N96 to go head to head with Apple’s iPhone 3G in India. So you might want to consider that. :-)