Indian telecom operators not keen to bundle iPhone 5

Telecom Lead India: Telecom service providers in India are not keen to bundle the new iPhone 5 with their service packages, if reports are to be believed.

iPhone 5

Reports suggest iPhone 5 will be available in stores on 21 September to customers in the U.S., Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore and the UK.

Rumors have it that iPhone 5 will land in India as soon as mid October.

Airtel and Vodafone have placed orders for new nano-SIM cards, indicating their interest in offering iPhone 5 as part of their services offer. However, this may not indicate Indian service providers’ interest in general.

Not many operators offered previous models of iPhones. Airtel, the leading privately held telecom operator in India, has been Apple’s carrier partner in India. Airtel sells the iPhone series – 3s, 4 and 4s – but they have not started data talktime package to it.

Aircel and Etisalat are the only two providers that have announced special offers on the iPhone. Aircel offers special plans such as a zero rental plan and a money back plan while Etisalat provides the phone at a subsidized cost and comes with 4GB of data and a free mobile connection.

FirstPost quotes some of the operators in India saying Apple’s business model is not viable for them. Apple expects them to sell “a huge number of iPhones which doesn’t make business sense” according to an official associated with an undisclosed operator. The fact was confirmed by Idea Cellular’s Chief Corporate Affairs Officer, Rajat Mukarji, who added that “Apple’s business proposition is unworkable in India, for the present.”

It’s not the non-viability of Apple’s unique business model alone that prevents them from bundling the iPhone. Indian operators have their own packages and handsets that provide them a more profitable business model. Many service providers in India like Idea and Videocon sell their own phones.

iPhone 5 is not suitable for the Indian mass market, at least for now. The 4G LTE enabled phone may not find its worth until users benefit from the lightning speed delivered by the latest mobile broadband technology. In India, 4G LTE is in the budding state.

4G network: Airtel achieves 3,180 TD-LTE subscribers

Airtel launched 4G TD-LTE services in Kolkata in April 2012 and Bangalore in May 2012. Since then the company has added only 3,180 TD-LTE subscribers through its 4G network in Kolkata and Bangalore.

Though recent analyses predicted that TD-LTE subscribers will reach 5 million by 2013 in Indian telecom market, the current scenario shows a different picture.

While smartphone adoption in India is rising, it’s the semi urban and rural markets in India that will greatly contribute for this growth. Their average smartphone budget for them is 8000-10,000. Evidently, iPhone 5 is not their choice. iPhone 5 may attract a few elite customers, so operators will have to really struggle to reap rewards from Apple’s iPhone business model.

iPhone 5 released: Without iOS innovation can Apple survive in smartphone market?

Meanwhile the smartphone industry is abuzz with opinions about the new features in iPhone 5. According to research firm Ovum, Apple needs to do much more than the widely expected hardware revamp of the iPhone to lead in the smartphone market.

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