Technology is pushing the limits. Quality music like iPod, sharp picture with natural colors on 3.5inch screen, joy of internet surfing, downloading music and video files and transferring of data at higher speed -all this in a mobile phone is not a distant dream now. The much awaited iPhones were launched in India on August 22 and Apple is quite enthusiastic about the arrival of its new gadget in India.

Vodafone and Airtel are authorized to sell the apple iPhones in India. These handsets will cost Rs 31,000 for 8 GB model and Rs. 36,100 for 16 GB model. But, there is a billion dollar question- will they will fit into the Indian appetite for mobiles? And is India ready for the 3rd Generation technology and elegant apples handsets? Jerin Koshy, an engineer at National Stock Exchange, Mumbai says “I won’t go for a handset which looks good but doesn’t even provide a facility to forward my messages.”

India’s communication revolution was triggered by the low tariff plans accompanied by the cheap but sustainable handsets. But the traits of the Indian telephony market are completely different from what iPhone represents. “Indian mobile market is very sensitive and customers are very price conscious. They don’t want to make hefty investments at one go on the basis of future promises by the companies. Also, the Indian conditions demand sturdy and not sophisticated mobile hand sets. The entry price is so high that even the customers with deep pockets will think twice before investing” says Vikas Sharma, owner of a mobile phone shop in Gandhi Nagar, East Delhi.

One thing which may go against the Apple’s new iPhones is it price. The same iPhones else where in the world costs $ 200 or Rs. 9000. In UK, telecom service provider O2 is providing iPhone free of cost under its highest tarrif plan. In Germany T-mobile lured customers by selling iPhones for 1 euro for those who opted for the highest tariff plan. In India the operators can not cut down the prices as it has the lowest tariff in the world. So they have to sell the handsets without any subsidy.

Competition Ahead

India is the fastest growing market for mobiles. There is an addition of 9 million new mobile connections every month ( pie of the mobile handset market is shared by the companies like Nokia, Samsung, Motorola and Ericsson. RIM’s Blackberry handsets are quite famous among the corporate and high end users. Entry price of these handsets is Rs. 14,000 which is very low compared to iPhone. Even with comparative low price there are very few users of Blackberry in India. In the grey market anyone can get the iPhone at about 20 percent less than the market price. Above all India mobile market is driven largely by the low cost handsets.

With such market condition experts challenges the viability of the iPhones. It’s a daunting task for all the players involved in the launch of iPhones to make it a success.