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Cook’s India visit: Apple might tieup with Airtel, Jio to sell iPhones

The chief executive, who was to arrive late on Tuesday night, is expected to hold discussions with top telcos for forging partnerships for the distribution

tech Updated: May 18, 2016 10:15 IST
HT Correspondent
The chief executive, who was to arrive late on Tuesday night, is expected to hold discussions with top telcos for forging partnerships for the distribution and sale of devices
The chief executive, who was to arrive late on Tuesday night, is expected to hold discussions with top telcos for forging partnerships for the distribution and sale of devices(Reuters)

You might soon get an iPhone if you buy a new connection from telecom service providers (telcos) in the country.

The telcos strategy of sales, which is in practice in China and US, may be announced after Apple CEO Tim Cook, who is on a India visit to boost slipping iPhone sales, holds discussion with players like Airtel and Reliance Jio.

The chief executive, who was to arrive late on Tuesday night, is expected to hold discussions with top telcos for forging partnerships for the distribution and sale of devices. The Apple top brass believes that India is the next growth point for the company and expects the improving and widening 4G network in the country to boost its smartphone, tablets and TV solutions sales.

Read more: Tim Cook in India: Hyderabad to be Apple’s mapping destination

Bharti and Reliance is expected to be on Apple’s crosshairs as both the telcos will have a full-fledged commercial 4G service running throughout the country by the end of the year.

A Economic Times (ET) report quoted a senior Bharti Airtel executive saying that the iPhone-maker was in talks with his company for a broader strategic tieup, which may include options such as distribution or selling through retail stores, offers on devices and even training of personnel.

The companies will pick what works best for India out of several proposals, the executive told the newspaper. Airtel Chairman Sunil Mittal who is scheduled to meet Cook on Friday declined to comment on the matter. He is also expected to meet other industry leaders such as Tata Group Chairman Cyrus Mistry, Vodafone India CEO Sunil Sood and Tata Consultancy Services CEO N Chandrasekaran.

Read more: Apple boss Cook to tap Indian software talent during maiden visit

In addition, a senior Reliance executive told ET that Apple might consider Jio to be a distribution partner for expanding into newer pockets in the country. “The distribution network will purely focus on 4G devices to push adoption of 4G services, which is of interest to Apple since currently it reaches around 10,000-odd outlets and it wants to make deeper inroads in India along with the services,” said the executive.