Tag Archives: RCom iPhone

Tata and Reliance in talks with Apple to offer CDMA iPhone: WSJ

14 Oct

Apple is in talks with Tata Indicom and RCom to offer the CDMA iPhone in India, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal. The report goes on to mention that Tata has been talking to Apple for four to five months. The news come amid reports that Apple will launch a CDMA iPhone with Verizon Wireless in the US, marking the end of AT&T’s exclusivity contract that began in 2007 when the first iPhone was launched.

Even if the CDMA iPhone is launched in India, it is very unlikely to sell in any significant numbers. Both Tata Indicom and RCom have been unsuccessful in selling high-end smartphones. Considering that a CDMA version of the iPhone will be more expensive than its GSM variant and carriers do not offer subsidies on phones in India, the CDMA iPhone will find even fewer customers than the GSM version. Even today, the grey market for iPhone has sold more numbers than Airtel and Vodafone, the two carriers that have the rights to sell the smartphone in India.

Another hurdle for the two CDMA carriers would be the absence of high value subscribers on their networks. When RCom launched its CDMA services in India, it was portrayed as a ‘poor man’s’ network with cheap tariffs (their punchline – now calling is cheaper than sending a post card). Some might argue that mobile number portability, which is set to kick in at the end of October, might help but still the high price of the CDMA iPhone will be a major deterrent.