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India's Bharti Airtel reveals iPhone details

updated 03:15 pm EDT, Thu August 21, 2008

Airtel ups iPhone 3G price

Bharti Airtel, one of two iPhone 3G carriers in India, has announced new details on its iPhone 3G launch Friday. All three variants (8GB black, 16GB black and 16GB white) are expected to be available, with the 8GB model retailing for Rs 31,000 ($716), and the 16GB versions selling for Rs 36,100 ($830). The prices are substantially higher than previously anticipated.

The new iPhones will be available for booking via SMS messages, and Airtel promises periodic updates, though phones will still only be sold on a "first come, first served" basis. iPhones will also be locked to Airtel SIM cards, with previous customers being required to have their existing SIM card with them at time of purchase.

New customers will have to wait as Airtel employees tether the iPhone to iTunes before leaving the store. Tethering to iTunes was a primary cause of first-wave launch woes on July 11th. Friday's second-wave launch should show to what extent Apple has progressed.

Beginning today, Airtel is also offering a non-refundable, downpayment-style booking for customers. An Rs 5,000 ($115) payment gets customers a fixed appointment to pick up an iPhone 3G the following day, after paying the balance.

The iPhone 3G launches Friday in India, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Romania, the Philippines, Poland, Hungary and a number of Latin American countries.

by MacNN Staff



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