Add India to the list of countries Apple possibly is targeting with a much-discussed, often-predicted, but as-yet under-wraps CDMA iPhone. Two Indian mobile carriers reportedly are in talks with the Cupertino, Calif. company to bring the popular handset to the fastest-growing wireless market.
The two carriers – Reliance Communications Ltd. and Tata Teleservices Ltd. – would join the two mobile providers currently selling the iPhone in India: Bharti AirTel Ltd. and Vodafone Essar Ltd. The Wall Street Journal mentioned no timetable for Apple introducing a CDMA iPhone into the market.
Although India has 670 million wireless customers, 20 percent — or 134 million — use CDMA-based handsets. Increased competition could also lower the iPhone’s current $670 pricetag, a figure out of reach for almost half of the country’s population earning less than $1.25 per day.
Globally, Apple could gain 550 million additional iPhone customers if a CDMA version were offered, according to the CDMA Development Group. Speculation has centered on when Apple would release a handset designed for markets using the popular wireless technology. Both the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal are reporting a CDMA iPhone will appear in January. Initially, Verizon Wireless was seen as the front-runner in the U.S., but analysts increasingly mention China as a second customer for a CDMA iPhone.