Why Airtel, Reliance Jio could reject iPhone 5C 4G LTE phone

Bharti Airtel and Reliance Jio Infocomm could reject the budget iPhone 5C, a 4G LTE phone, due to its unaffordable price.

Both Airtel and Reliance Jio are looking to tap cost effective 4G phones when they roll out TD-LTE network for masses. While Reliance Jio Infocomm is planning to launch 4G next year, Delhi will become the fifth 4G market for Airtel this year.

Currently, majority of Airtel 4G connections are sold through dongles. Huawei is the only supplier of 4G phone in India.

iPhone 5c comes with more LTE bands than any other smartphone in the world. It will be sold in China, a TD-LTE market.

The iPhone 5c is the first time Apple has built a fresh handset design for the midrange smartphone market segment. It will be sold in China from next week. There is no information about its India debut.

While Apple did not address the low end of the mobile phone market with its announcement, iPhone 5c represents a major departure from its previous product strategy, which could improve the company’s competitiveness.

Apple iPhone 5C colorful phone not for India

“See, even if it’s subsidized, it’s pricing itself out of the market, and the reason is that the subsidy amount will be added to your monthly bill, and the average Chinese person, Indian person can’t afford it. It’s just too expensive. Every analyst expected the phone to be priced $300 to $400,” said Jeffries Senior Technology Analyst Peter Misek.

Apple announced two new iPhone models, the 5c, which starts at $99 with a subsidy, and the 5s, which starts at $199.

“At an unsubsidized cost of $549, the iPhone 5c remains at the same price point as the existing mid-range model in Apple’s smartphone line, the iPhone 4S,” said Francis Sideco, director for consumer electronics and communications technologies at IHS.

iPhone 5c appears to be a midrange product that cannot significantly expand the available market for the iPhone line to lower-income buyers. As a result, the arrival of the 5c will not spur a major increase in iPhone sales in the second half of 2013 compared to previous expectations.

“Anyone expecting Apple to come truly down market with the iPhone 5C was fooling themselves. The day that happens is the day the company signals that it has run out of headroom for expansion. It’s far from ready to concede that yet as it’s greater interest in Japan and China show, although the mooted tie up with China Mobile wasn’t announced as this comment was written,” said Tony Cripps, principal analyst, Devices and Platforms, Telecoms at Ovum.

Apple needs to re-invent at this point of time. Microsoft with Nokia Lumia and Asha phones are coming into mobile phone world. Samsung will not give up.

Baburajan K
[email protected]