Airtel, Vodafone to launch Apple iPhone Aug 21-22 midnight

August 21st, 2008 - 7:21 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Aug 21 (IANS) Telecom major Bharti Airtel Thursday said the Apple iPhone will be launched midnight of Aug 21-22 across six cities in the country.Rival Vodafone, the other authorised service provider for Apple in India, will also launch the gadget at the same time.

The phone will be available in Hyderabad and Bangalore besides the four metropolitan cities and will be later introduced in 65 cities.

The iPhone priced at Rs.31,000 for 8GB and Rs.36,100 for 16GB of memory space will be available in Airtel retail centres (ARCs) and Apple resellers.

“Since apples cannot be compared to oranges, therefore, the price of the phone remains unquestionable,” Airtel president (mobility) Sanjay Kapoor told reporters here.

“In western countries, the phone comes with a two-year contractual obligation with the service provider wherein the whole price of the phone is recovered over the course of time.

“In India, there is no such practice, therefore, we are collecting the entire cost at one go,” he said.

Airtel has received 200,000 pre-bookings for the phone since the process had started about two months back, Kapoor said.

The phone comes locked to the service provider, which means a user cannot switch his or her operator while using an iPhone.

However, the availability of a number of software in the market for hacking the iPhone does not go unnoticed by the telecom operator.

”We are aware of the hacking software that are available and are used to unlock the iPhone, but the customers who will stay with Airtel will be able to enjoy iPhone’s full benefits including the data plans,” Kapoor said.

Currently, there are more than 30,000 iPhone users in India using the second generation of iPhones (2G), available in the grey market in India, Kapoor added.

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