iPhone 4S coming to India Nov. 25

Apple's latest iPhone to reach world's second largest mobile market next Friday, but Cupertino previously faced difficulty selling its devices due to limited 3G networks in India.
Written by Jamie Yap, Contributor

Apple's latest iteration of its iPhone will be available in India on Nov. 25, but Cupertino has faced difficulty selling its mobile devices there due to limited 3G network coverage in the country, the world's second-largest mobile phone market.

Rival Indian carriers Bharti Airtel and Aircel will both launch the iPhone 4S at midnight on Friday, according to Times of India on Tuesday.

Both carriers did not reveal any details on the pricing, but the report drew reference from the US$649 price tag of an unlocked 16GB iPhone 4S and estimated that the cheapest model would cost between 35,000 and 40,000 rupees (US$696 and US$795).

It added that the companies were likely to offer reverse subsidy for iPhone 4S through discounted call and data plans.

India is the world's second largest mobile market after China, but the country's limited wireless network infrastructure and patchy third-generation (3G) services have made it a challenge for Apple to peddle its iPhone devices to the approximately 602 million active Indian mobile subscribers, noted a Bloomberg report in October.

Scotia Capital analyst, Gus Papageorgiou, said in the report: "Networks in India are just not conducive for Apple--3G networks aren't quite where they are in Western Europe and North America."

Citing IDC research, Bloomberg also pointed out that Apple accounted for only 2.6 percent of India's smartphone shipments in the quarter, ended Jun. 30, far lower than rivals Nokia, Samsung and BlackBerry maker, Research In Motion.

Since its initial launch on Oct. 14, the iPhone 4S is now available in various countries in Asia-Pacific including Singapore, Hong Kong, Japan, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand. South Korean handset maker, Samsung, earlier this week announced it would not push for a legal ban to prohibit sales of the iPhone 4S in its home country.

Update: The 16GB model will retail at 44,500 rupee (US$867.75) and the 32GB model at 50,900 rupee (US$992.55).

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