In a recent post we commented on the the failure of Apple Iphones in India and enumerated couple of things which Apple can take care if it wants to target Indian market. It seems that Apple is listening to Indian users and have started thinking about them. Apple has allowed Airtel ( One of the two distributor’s of Iphone in India ,other is Vodafone) to unlock the Iphone and sell it to users who are not even subscribers of Airtel. User may have to pay an unlocking fees to Airtel but that’s not confirmed yet.
This will be in contrast of earlier practice of selling Iphones in India only to Airtel or Vodafone subscribers. Earlier the Iphone was locked only for these operators, that is if user changes the provider the Iphone will no longer be usable, but after this new announcement any user can walk into an Airtel retail shop, purchase the Iphone and still continue with his existing service provider. This will help users who do not want to change their existing service providers.
This move may help in giving a little boost to the sales of Iphones but Apple can’t except much from this move as the major hurdle in front of the users is high cost of Iphone. It costs around Rs 31,000 for an 8Gb version and Rs 36,000 for 16Gb version which is far higher than the average salary( Rs 15,000 per month) of an Indian person in the age group 20-30 years who are Iphone’s most potential customers. Apple should also not ignore the fact that unlocked Iphones (though illegal) were also available in India as soon as they were launched in other countries like US etc. Additionally anybody could have purchased Iphone from Vodafone and Airtel and got it unlocked for as low as Rs 200 but that also never gave a pump to Iphone sales as people were not able to grab it with that huge price tag.
It seems that Apple is experimenting with the Indian market just before the launch of Apple Iphone 3Gs in August so that it can draw more attention this time and make Iphone a success in India.If Apple want to make Iphone a success in India it has to target many fronts like pricing,marketing,services etc. Only unlocking an Iphone won’t be able to give the required boost to Iphone in India.