iPhone Now Available For Sale On Contract In India For First Time

iphone-5s-india-grey-market

The iPhone just became much more cost-friendly in the second largest wireless market in the world. India’s third largest carrier, Reliance Communications, has started selling the iPhone 5c and 5s with a two-year contract. Indian customers have previously only been able to purchase the iPhone for its full, unsubsidized price off contract.

India is a key emerging market for Apple, and this move could significantly bolster iPhone sales in the country if it catches on at other Indian carriers.

Unlike the U.S, India doesn’t have a reliable system for universally tracking citizens’ credit worthiness, notes The Wall Street Journal. This problem is why many countries around the world still don’t sell smartphones unsubsidized—they can’t take the risk. But Reliance Communications is now providing wireless contracts for customers with credit cards.

Reliance Communications said it will sell the iPhone 5S for 2,999 rupees ($48.5) per month and the 5C for 2,599 rupees per month. The amount would include unlimited phone calls, Internet subscription and no additional costs.

Both new iPhones officially went on sale today in India as part of Apple’s continued international rollout. For comparison, the 5s costs 53,500 rupees, or $865 normally. Samsung sells much cheaper Android phones in India and currently commands 36% market share while Apple only has 2%.

There are still no official Apple stores in India, but there have been reports that Apple wants to start selling products in around 100 additional resellers.

  • kapil833

    It’s good that the iPhone is available on contract in India, but Reliance Comm has one of the worst network coverage in the country.It’s difficult to get signals sometimes.Better to buy off contract.

  • Market_Mayhem

    Those consumers will simply get the iPhone on contract and disappear after the first few payments. Those carriers are really taking a risk. I guess if the iPhone can be bricked for non-payment it might deter some of those theft problems.

  • eatthefruit

    Well, it’s not really on contract like we have it in the US. You buy the device on a participating credit card and swipe the card for full cost of the device. The cc company converts your payment for the device into 24 EMIs. You pay for the device monthly to the cc company. The carrier receives upfront payment for the device from the cc company and gives you unlimited service for 24 months in return. The bank charges you 15% APR for your phone “loan”. Price of the device from the carrier is higher than apple retail price of the device. That’s how the carrier makes money. That and the fact that it receives payment for 24 months upfront is how it makes sense for the carrier. 24 months upfront payment in India is a big deal for carriers. Overall it’s like the ‘jump’ schemes offered by ATT. Looks good for the customer, but do the math and it absolutely makes no sense for the customer. Its money for the carriers and the cc companies.

About the author

Alex HeathAlex Heath is a senior writer at Cult of Mac and co-host of the CultCast. He has been quoted by the likes of the BBC, KRON 4 News, and books like "ICONIC: A Photographic Tribute to Apple Innovation." If you want to pitch a story, share a tip, or just get in touch, additional contact information is available on his personal site. Twitter always works too.

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