New Delhi: Apple Inc’s much-hyped iPhone 3G, launched in India on 22 August by Bharti Airtel Ltd and Vodafone-Essar Ltd, has failed to make an impact. Some analysts, and those who had been hoping to buy the phone, say its high price and the absence of so-called third generation mobile-phone services in the country deterred potential buyers.
The price of the Internet-connected multimedia phone -- Rs 36,100 for 16 GB and Rs31, 000 for 8 GB -- was higher than what potential customers had been expecting, analysts said. In the US, an iPhone costs $199, or about Rs.9,000.
“I was thinking of getting one but when the prices were announced I felt that it was not worth paying that amount,” said Tarun Pall, 29, a management consultant with IBM India in Gurgaon, on the outskirts of New Delhi. “You get all the features at half the price (in other brands).. the other brands may not look good, but they aren’t bad either.”
The absence of a 3G network, which enables high-speed data transfer, Internet browsing and video calls, and the price also put off Bangalore-based entrepreneur Shreyas Srinivasan, who says he would prefer the iPod Touch that resembles the iPhone.
“Compared with an iPod touch, paying for an iPhone is a huge premium, and that’s not worth it,” he said.
New Delhi-based telecom analyst N Kumar, who was hoping to buy the iPhone, said he chose not to go ahead after the price was announced. “Features such as video recording and cut-paste options are also lacking. Moreover, there is no 3G in India, and I do not know how long it (3G services) will be (before it is) successfully operationalised in India.”
He is waiting for the launch of the Nokia N96, the Finnish company’s answer to the iPhone. “The only difference is the music, but I think N96 will be better priced,” Kumar said.
Customers for the iPhone would be limited at the price at which it is being offered by Bharti and Vodafone, said another telecom analyst.
”There are people who go behind new technology and new devices and get it as they feel empowered by having such gadgets. These consumers who prefer technologically advanced devices and replace handset quite often will be first to buy the iPhone,” said Anshul Gupta, an analyst at Gartner Inc.