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Friday, Aug 23, 2019

The Great Indian iPhone 4S Pricing Diaspora

People just can’t stop criticizing the whooping Rs 44,500 price point of the new iPhone 4S in India, to be launched by Airtel and Aircel. Is all this controversy actually justified? Do read on to know more.

gadgets Updated: Nov 23, 2011 14:21 IST
Shayon Pal
Shayon Pal
Hindustan Times

We had recently reported that the iPhone 4S shall be available in the Indian market from November 25th, and the cheapest variant, the 16GB version, has been priced at whooping Rs 44,500 by the 2 service providers who are launching it first, Airtel and Aircel. The 32GB and the 64GB versions cost Rs 50,900 and Rs 57,500 respectively.

That’s actually Rs 4,000 more than the price the 11” Macbook Air sells at, in India! Who said the inflation’s killing the Indian economy, again?

Now that the 16GB iPhone 4 has been made available at Rs 34,500 (still a super high price, in yours truly’s humble opinion), you’d expect the new iPhone 4S to selling at around Rs 40,000 at least. But no, the operators do have to add an extra premium on top of that. Who prices these iPhones anyway? iPhones are always sold bundled with operator plans. So you’d expect the service providers to be pricing the phones. However, in other countries like the US and UK, it is Apple that decides the price. In India, nobody’s commenting on that.

Well, let’s keep the pricing of the phones themselves aside, and investigate the marketing gimmick called ‘reverse subsidy’ being advertised by operators like Aircel and Airtel. It’s true that Airtel still hasn’t introduced the tariffs for the iPhone 4S. But Aircel has, and it won’t be to speculative to say that Airtel won’t be much off the mark either.

Here’s an image depicting the tariffs mentioned by Aircel for iPhone 4S subscribers.


Let us assume we have a regular Android or Symbian phone with an Aircel sim in it. Now, let’s figure out how much shall we have to pay for similar data and voice plans that’s offered for the iPhone 4S.

Now, Aircel has a postpaid plan with

Rs 999 rental

that bundles 3600 minutes of local/STD talktime, 3000 SMS/month and 2GB of 2G data. They also provide 500MB of 3G data for Rs 200 only.

Let’s compare in the following graphic.


It is interesting to note that Aircel says the ideal cost of the plan offered by them for iPhone 4S 16GB is Rs 1,880 per month. Additionally, Aircel also limits the data usage via WiFi to 1GB. I wonder how do THEY control that.

It is sad that the Indian operators/Apple continue to milk the premium value of the iPhone 4S. People say Android has more market share than iPhones because of defragmentation. I think even if there had been only one Android phone, the Galaxy S II, in the market, even then Android would have had more market share than iPhones. It is a shame that India gets treated as a third world country, even though the iPhones are hardly sold at third-world prices.

I wonder why would someone not buy iPhones off the grey market. On that note, I shall leave you with a few prices of the iPhone 4S all over the world, compiled by

Rajat Agarwal of BGR India

. I am sure you shall find it useful.


Update (Nov 23, 2011 - 1420 hours):

As pointed out by some of our readers and Aircel's social media team themselves, the 1GB limit on WiFi is actually for the specific Aircel WiFi Zones available in a few Indian cities. The data usage is actually unlimited on personal WiFi hotspots.

First Published: Nov 22, 2011 14:10 IST

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