Now Aircel announces its iPhone plans : Telcos warming up to contracts for smartphones?

Aircel today announced its plans to roll out the iPhone 4 in India, earlier this week our sources confirmed that an Airtel iPhone 4 will be available soon. The iPhone 4 is undoubtedly the world’s largest selling smartphone and what helped it achieve this reputation are the contracts that telecom operators around the world have offered with the iPhone. Since the launch of the first generation iPhone ( now we’re at the 4th generation) it was offered with telecom plans and it has worked brilliantly for both Apple and the telecom providers and so it is no surprise that Indian telecom operators are looking at leveraging the same business model in India. Aircel has announced that the iPhone 4 will be available with a range of flexible plans for both, pre-paid as well as post-paid customer. The company claims, following an upfront payment of Rs34,500 for the 16GB model and Rs40,000/- for the 32GB model, customers will have the opportunity to recover 100 percent of their upfront payments in monthly credits on their service plan for over a period of 24 months.

iPhone 4
iPhone 4

So what is it that’s driving telecom operators to embrace this model? Data! That’s data with a capital D! 3G services are all the rage in the country today with telcos offering free 3G trials for customers in a bid to woo them onto their network. The 3G roll out is expected to be complete throughout the country before the end of this year, and telcos are gearing up for a boom in customer demand for data. Research in India shows that Indians use 3G for entertainment primarily, not surprising as we know we need our entertainment and we need it now! Analysts have predicted that the demand for 3G services is going to rise manifold and will be a big buck earner for telcos, and considering the amount all telcos have paid for 3G spectrum, they better capitalize on this opportunity.

You may recall that earlier this year MTS offered a similar deal with an Android phone packaged with a contract, the HTC Pulse for a monthly subscription of Rs1,500/-. The main difference in the model of Aircel and MTS is the upfront payment that Aircel demands, MTS on the other hand provides the convenience of paying for the phone and the service over a period of time. Considering you are paying almost full price for the iPhone 4, there are no details yet on whether it will be unlocked should you wish to switch your telecom operator ( we speculate it may be locked ).  Data plans are what you should be looking out for, be warned that choosing the wrong plan on your subscription may just turn an awesome deal into one that you cant get out of.

What do you think of these new plans being offered by telecom companies? Good, Bad or Ugly?

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