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"Largest" iPhone launch set for India: 250,000 stores

updated 02:20 am EDT, Wed May 14, 2008

"Largest" iPhone rollout

Apple's iPhone is set to make a big splash in India. A new report says that the rollout of the iPhone in India is set to be the largest, anywhere in the world -- through both Vodafone (previously announced) and Airtel mobile carriers. Citing industry sources, says that Apple's iPhones will be sold through about 250,000 Vodafone and Airtel retail outlets including franchisee-owned shops. "This rollout would be mammoth when compared to iPhones being available only in about 7,000 AT&T outlets in the US apart from the Apple Stores," the report noted. With the launch of the new 3G iPhone expected next month (likely at WWDC), Apple is already expanding the number of countries in which the iPhone will be available, including Australia (in an non-exclusive arrangement) as well as Czech Republic, Italy, Portugal, Greece, Turkey, Asia, Egypt, New Zealand, and South Africa via a pre-announced Vodaphone deal.

The 3G iPhone also will be available in Singapore and other Asian countries and is expected hit Europe before August.

While Apple is expected to sell the iPhone in India through its own outlets, the report says that Apple has a limited number of retail storefronts, but that both Vodaphone and Airtel are expected to offer the device in "all metros and leading tier II towns." Neither Airtel and Vodafone offered any details on the rollout, however.

"Most phone makers want their products in as many stores as possible and Apple is changing its strategy from exclusivity to wider availability," one analyst said anonymously.

The iPhone, priced at 23,000 Rs (about $545), will be targeted at 'high-end' mobile phone users whose monthly bills exceed of 1,000 Rs (about $23), the report said.

The report also indicates that agreements with franchises would also be worked out, enabling non-carrier branded stories to sell the popular device. Only official company AT&T stores, not franchises, sell the phone in the US.

Bharti, Airtel's parent is also working plans to bundle iPhones along with its broadband services, which it sells to about 800,000 customers.

Title corrected

by MacNN Staff



  1. Peter Bonte

    Joined: Dec 1969


    250.000 stores (2.5 lakh)

    This is huge, i hope Apple can keep up with demand. The rumored stockpiling of 10 to 20 million 3G iPhone's doesn't seem that exaggerated now especially when Apple also enters the Chinese market.

  1. bobolicious

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Let the trickle down...

    Now if only we could get a similar option ($23/mo) or even simply an iPhone just north of the border...

  1. testudo

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Another day...

    ...another "Company X has announced iPhone in country Y" story!

  1. bloggerblog

    Joined: Dec 1969



    250,000 stores for a population of 1.1 billion??!!!
    That's 4,520 people for every store?
    That doesn't make any sense since a large number of the population in India are extremely poor and others are children, kids, and infants.
    I don't know but something seems exaggerated.

  1. Peter Bonte

    Joined: Dec 1969


    250,000 stores

    "including franchisee owned shops". I guess this includes small teleshops and internet café's. Poor people also buy phones, they don't have the money for a room or a computer but the iPhone is the internet in your pocket.

  1. macnixer

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Many in India

    already own an iPhone. Actually in a marriage ceremony my friends played an impromptu game about how many "aunties" (sort of derogatory term for married women in Bombay speak) were spotted carrying an iPhone (obviously jail broken by paying some good $$$). Well the result was amazing... one in three. In a crowd of 300 people if 100 already had an iPhone, I'd imagine a lot of them already have an iPhone in India.

    While 70% of India is still rural and give and take something about 20% of the populace would be able to buy an iPhone, I'd say that is a lot of market considering the sizable population. About a year back in Bombay I'd seen kids carry the latest and the most expensive nokias, samsungs, motos etc. And most were top of the line about Rs. 30000 a piece. And these kids would flaunt the newest iPods too. Either they have rich dads or they are working.

    During my travels there I came across an old gentleman who barely knew the use of email but had N95. Expensive phone to buy considering he was only a farmer from an inland village. He said he liked the phone because he could take pictures of the places he visited and show it to his family. The bright farmer also used it to lease his mango orchard. He said he learnt to MMS the pictures of his orchard to larger merchants would lease the orchard. This he said would save him time and the merchants did not really need to come to his orchard as the pictures helped them a lot during auction decisions and send reps if they liked the pics. Hmm...

    I imagine with google maps and iPhone the rural folks would be able to do business in a lot better way. Frankly the iPhone is a better device for these people as it is a small computer with internet and can also work when there is long power outages and they depend on small solar panels or "inverters" for lights. The iPhone would sell if Apple really knows how and where to reach. :)

    Good luck Apple.

  1. Guest

    Joined: Dec 1969



    iphone is good i sell unlock to you cheap cheap you buy you buy

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