Cheaper iPhones for emerging telecom markets






Apple is now preparing to offer discounted iPhone devices in China, which may be sold by either China Telecom or China Mobile. This discounted phone, which will have 8GB of storage and will be based on the iPhone 4, will be made available in other emerging markets as well, although the date for release of the new devices has not been revealed. The discounted version of the iPhone will also be available only in emerging nations, to spread its reach in price-sensitive markets, and hence, will not be available in developed markets like US and Europe.






The world has moved on in a big way to the iPhone and Android platform. Ironically, however, the country with the world’s largest wireless subscriber base is yet to offer widespread iPhone services to its subscribers. China has over 1 billion mobile subscribers today, but as per latest statistics, only one cellular operator, that is, China Unicom provides iPhone services in the country.






While China’s other two operators – China Telecom and China Mobile have also been in talks with Apple to sell the popular iPhone services, recent reports suggest that both operators have their own misgivings about offering these services in the country.






Responding to questions about the ongoing talks for iPhone services to be offered by China Telecom, Wang Xiaochu, chairman, China Telecom, said that the operator would only be increasing handset subsidies in case it started selling iPhones to draw more users to its network.






China Telecom, which recently reported that its net profit rose 8.1 percent year on year to 9.8 billion yuan, has also increased capital expenditure to 50 billion yuan this year from 43 billion yuan last year. The company reported that ARPU for 3G services was a little more than 80 yuan in the first half, since introducing the service in the second half of last year. However, the carrier predicts a fall in its ARPU in the second half of the year.






Meanwhile, the iPhone is gaining increasing popularity in India not only among buyers of the handset, but also due to developers of many of the iPhone apps being outsourced from India, for their low-cost labour.






According to reports, applications on Apple’s online store have been downloaded more than 15 billion times since its’ commencing operations in 2008.






India is the world’s largest recipient of outsourcing orders, with over 450,000 developers, and requests for programmers who write code for Apple’s iOS platform have risen by 20 percent in the second quarter, while demand for programmers with Android skills rose by 15 percent, and developer requests for RIM’s Blackberry devices increased by 3 percent, according to a study published recently.






Infrastructure investments have fallen in the country in recent times, and recent reports suggest that FDI for the telecom sector for 2010-11 to Rs 7,542.04 crore, down by almost half from Rs 12,269.66 crore in 2009-10. However, FDI for the June quarter was pegged at Rs 5434.48 crore, and the government is hopeful of further increase in coming months. 



By Beryl M
[email protected]