While most of the iPhone lovers in India already own an unlocked 1st generation iPhone, Apple officially launched the iPhone 3G in India at Rs. 31000/- or $720 when you apply the latest conversion rates. The same iPhone 3G costs $199 to a customer in the US with a cell plan from AT&T.
By the way, Airtel and Vodafone are the two companies that have brought the iPhone 3G to India. If you want to buy the iPhone from Vodafone, then you can choose from a host of plans which have voice + data ranging from Rs.500 – Rs.1000. But along with that monthly rental, you have to buy the iPhone at an insane Rs.31000/-
The pre-launch interest for the iPhone 3G in India was huge. Airtel and Vodafone received over 25000 customers who were interested in the iPhone. How many of those customers are stupid enough to buy at this price is anyone’s guess?? India is the 2nd largest cellphone market in the world. But I’m pretty sure that with this ridiculous pricing the official iPhone 3G will not capture even 0.1% of the Indian market. With all the marketing expenses and Apple revenue sharing, the economics of the iPhone 3G for the cellphone operators doesn’t make any sense to me.
The most funny thing in this whole affair is that 3G services are still not available in India. It will take atleast another year for the services to start in full swing. So anyone who buys the new iPhone 3G will not be able to use the 3G services. With the current sucking GPRS service from these GSM operators, the internet speeds are so slow, that I would prefer my old 56k modem to surf the internet than GPRS.
Apple has played the same game again!! To be part of the Apple cult you have to be filthy rich and stupid. Apple is known to have high margins, but when you know that you have a product that can score on volumes, you obviously can lower your margins and increase your profit. But Apple gives a damn about volumes. It is happy to have a cult status and if that means only milking your stupid customer base, then so be it.