Apple’s Indian carrier partners Aircel and Airtel won’t sell the iPhone 5 in India this year. Instead, Apple will take over the distribution process for the iPhone 5 as well as the iPhone 4S and iPhone 4, multiple sources have confirmed to BGR India. Apple India has appointed Ingram Micro and Redington for distributing iPhones and has already ramped up its sales team to prepare for the iPhone 5 launch.
However, multiple carriers, including Aircel and Airtel, will be offering special tariff plans for the iPhone 5. BGR India earlier exclusively reported details of carriers placing orders for Nano SIMs that the iPhone 5 uses. Users who buy the iPhone 5 will be required to swap their existing SIM card to a Nano SIM from their carrier. The Nano SIM card package will also include adapters to convert it to a Micro SIM or a regular SIM to ensure the user is able to use it with other phones too.
Carriers don’t want to miss out on the iPhone 5 as it is used mostly by high value subscribers. Considering Aircel and Airtel are no longer the preferred partners, it will be a level playing field for multiple carriers.
The change in distribution model for the iPhone should not come as a surprise to those who have been following Tim Cook and his views about the importance of India for Apple. During his last earnings call, Tim Cook had said he loved India and business is growing there but mentioned that a “multi-layer distribution model” was adding to the cost of products. Probably this would be one way Apple can tackle the situation and hopefully bring the iPhone at some saner price points.