The iPhone will start selling widely again in Argentina next month, after a period of 8 years during which it was blocked, due to laws requiring companies that wanted to sell devices to set up local manufacturing facilities.
The move comes as President Mauricio Macri attempts to re-open Argentina to global trade. The laws barring the iPhones from being supported by local carriers carriers Telefonica SA, America Movil SAB and Telecom Argentina SA came into being in 2009, courtesy of President Macri’s predecessor, Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner.
Samsung was one major smartphone maker which agreed to open a factory in Argentina to get around local sourcing laws, but Apple never did.
Under the change in law, regulatory hurdles for importing iPhones have been removed, although carriers will still have to pay import taxes making the handsets 25 percent more than locally-assembled phones. As one way around this, carriers are letting customers pay for their iPhones in installments.
Not that Apple fans in Argentina aren’t used to paying over the odds, of course! During the time in which the iPhone was not readily available, a black market sprung up to provide Apple devices to people who wanted them — often with markups three times the amount devices would cost in the United States. For instance, an iPad could easily carry a price tag approaching $3,000.
While Apple never caved and built an iPhone-producing factory in Argentina, in recent times it has proven more flexible in kowtowing to similar demands. In India, for example, Apple has heavily invested in a number of areas as a way to try and gain a stronger foothold in the market.