RCom is planning to launch the iPhone for its CDMA network in India, BGR India has learnt. Multiple people with knowledge of the matter have confirmed that the two companies have signed a deal and an announcement is likely to be made soon. With increasing data revenues across carriers, RCom hopes that having a high-end device like the iPhone would help it retain subscribers and also increase its data revenues.
“We have always believed that CDMA is a better technology for data services and we will introduce high-end smartphones across both GSM and CDMA networks,” an RCom executive told BGR India on condition of anonymity as he is not authorized to speak to the media. Apart from Apple, the carrier is also looking at other vendors like HTC and Lenovo to offer smartphones for both its GSM and CDMA networks.
Currently, all iPhones and GSM smartphones from other vendors are available unlocked so it is unlikely to make much sense for RCom to procure GSM smartphones. In all likelihood, it would launch the CDMA variants and probably offer some regular data bundling deals for its GSM subscribers.
Apple has been relatively aggressive in India in the past couple of quarters with its zero percent interest EMI schemes as well as buyback offers for the iPhone 4. According to recent reports, sales of the iPhone have quadrupled since the introduction of these schemes. While launching the iPhone 5 in India last year, Apple appointed its own distributors rather than relying on its carrier partners, Aircel and Airtel, which suggested it getting more serious about India. The Cupertino-based company is also expected to launch a more affordable iPhone later this year, which could potentially help it gain greater smartphone market share, which is currently dominated by Android smartphone makers, especially Samsung.
Earlier RCom had entered into a marketing agreement with CoolPad, a Chinese brand, to sell low-end Android smartphones from its own stores. However, the carrier now believes it needs premium smartphones in order to entice high value subscribers to increase its data revenues.
We have also learnt that MTS is also looking at introducing high-end smartphones on its network. So far, it has launched entry-level smartphones under its own brand, most of them being rebadged devices from Huawei, ZTE and others.