Apple CEO Tim Cook is currently visiting India. Besides meeting Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Tim Cook s agenda of the tour includes forging local partnerships, greater association with Make in India initiative and single brand retail stores among other initiatives. As the company looks at India to refuel its growth engine, Apple is also looking to have partnerships with the Indian telecom operators for a variety of purposes including local distribution and sales. As part of this initiative, Apple has agreed to enter into a long term partnership with Reliance Jio, which owns pan-India 4G LTE licence, ET reports. Also Read - New iPhone SE to be the most affordable 5G phone from Apple, to launch in 2022Also Read - Jio 5G launch livestream: How to watch JioPhone 5G, JioBook launch event online
According to the report, Cook has given an in-principle nod to Reliance’s offer of bundling iPhones with its 4G plans. This way, Reliance will directly buy, distribute and retail iPhones from Apple without having to go via its local distributors. Reliance Jio is the only 4G LTE network in the country that supports VoLTE, which Apple’s iPhones support. The agreement could help Apple make further inroads into the Indian market. Also Read - Jio 5G rollout today? No, you will need to wait longer to experience 5G in India
During the quarterly earnings call last month, Cook had hinted about the opportunity India had for Apple once LTE networks became more widespread in the country.India was the only silver lining for iPhone sales with a 56 percent year-on-year growth when even China slowed down. The thing that (has) held not only us back, perhaps but some others as well, is that the LTE rollout in India just really began this year, and so we ll begin to see some really good networks coming on in India. That will unleash the power and capability of the iPhone in a way that an older network, a 2.5G, or even some 3G networks, would not do, Cook had said during the call.
On the retail side, Reliance was reportedly interested in deploying Apple’s enterprise retail solutions that were co-developed with IBM. The solution will arm Reliance Retail employees on the floor with iPhones and iPads to help them serve their customers better as well as have real-time inventory management capabilities. Cook, according to the report, suggested the implementation of Apple Pay at Reliance’s retail stores across the country.
The development comes shortly after reports said that Apple CEO Tim Cook will be meeting other telecom giants such as Airtel and Vodafone. Like the deal with Reliance Industries, Apple is looking for leveraging the telcos large local distribution and sales network in the country.
Besides telecom operators, Cook is also reportedly meeting companies to help implement Apple Pay in India. He yesterday met ICICI Bank s top brass, leading to speculations that Apple is looking for local partnerships for deployment of Apple Pay.