Will you get an iPhone legally?

On the 22nd of August, Apple in conjunction with Telecom partners worldwide will be releasing the iPhone in 15 Nations worldwide. India, Singapore and the Philippines lead the rush in Asia while the Czeck republic is added in Europe not forgetting 8 Latin American Countries.We can truthfully¬† say that Apple is truly taking over the cell phone market…

What is hard to understand about this phenomenon is the price difference though, and speaking from an Indian consumers pointof view,I will possibly not be purchasing the iPhone 3G, I am very happy with my Nokia e71.

When the iPhone was first launched, almost a year ago, it was something exciting, frankly something worth having, and it was a desirable piece of technology…

It was so desirable that it was available Jailbroken and illegally and very easily in India. And the best thing about this was that the price was actually quite reasonable, – an unlocked 8GB iPhone could be had at a street price or Rs 20,000 – 22,000 (approx $400) which was almost the price it was available for in the US (After the first price slash). If you had someone coming from the US, even cheaper…

So when people heard that with the launch of the 3G and the $199 price,¬† customers expect a similar if not the same pricing… It was a big surprise to consumers, – infact even causing a bit of international attention by pcworld – when the pricing for the 8GB and the 16GB models was announced at Rs 31,000 & Rs 36,100 respectivly.. And while no one has mentioned you can bet on the fact that there will be a VAT on top of this, not to count usage charges.

Wow…

This puts the price of the iPhone solidly at $823 Far above the price that just about any country is paying for it… Bear in mind that these prices are for the phone only.. No data or voice OR ANY OTHER SERVICE THAT MAKES THE 3G GREAT, as India does not have any 3G yet, and no visual voicemail. Both the carriers who are offering the iPhone, Vodafone IN and Bharti Airtel have mentioned that all of the iPhone services will not be available, without mentioning which services in particular will be affected. No special data plans for the iPhone have been released either.

Another problem is that, both carriers would be selling the phone locked to the network. The first experience for Indians with this was with the Blackberrys which were not subsidised in price either. The carriers are getting away with basically screwing the customer… Its a known fact that worldwide a network locked phone is made available at a far more subsidised rate that its unlocked varient, hence the whole point of network locking.

Apple is not helping either, while the Apps store is available in India, ( It has been available since the launch of the app store for purchasing apps for the iPod Touch) the iTunes store for purchasing music is not enough available.

India’s economy may be driven by the desire to “Keep up with the Joneses”. It is this attitude that is fueling the unmitigated desire of companies to drive this type of pricing without providing a Quality of service. Sharninder over at Nomadic Rider made a valid point that Fanboys will be just that… but I think Fan Boys also gotta wakeup…

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