New Delhi: India’s largest mobile operator Bharti Airtel announced a tie-up on 12 May with US-based Apple Inc. to bring the popular GSM-based iPhone in the country.
“Bharti Airtel has signed a deal with Apple to bring the iPhone to India later this year,” the company said in a statement.
Sources, however, said Airtel may start offering iPhones around Diwali festival to its over 65 million GSM-based subscribers.
The sources did not give any details about the price of the phone or the agreement the company entered into with Apple Inc.
Airtel’s announcement comes on the heels of world’s largest mobile phone operator Vodafone announcing last week to distribute iPhones worldwide including India.
Apple Inc, the makers of the iPhone, has tied up with two players in the Indian market.
The move is likely to benefit the consumers who can now avail the products from legal channels and avoid opting for the grey market.
If Airtel launches the service around Diwali, ahead of Vodafone, which also plans to launch the device by year-end then it would get the first movers advantage in the highly competitive Indian mobile market.
The UK telecom giant Vodafone would be selling the iPhone in India, besides nine other markets such as Australia, the Czech Republic, Egypt, Greece, Italy, Portugal, New Zealand, South Africa and Turkey.
iPhone, the touch screen device which combines Apple’s iPod music player, a video player and web browser is a huge hit with operators as well as consumers. It is currently available in the US, Germany, Ireland, UK, France and Austria.