Vodafone lowers iPhone prices, Airtel sticks to the original

Written by Anandita Singh Mankotia | Rachana Khanzode | Mumbai, New Delhi, Aug 22 | Updated: Aug 23 2008, 07:23am hrs
Apples iPhone was launched in India in a midnight extravaganza, but its prices in Mumbai slipped overnight, with Vodafone, the service provider for the gadget in Mumbai, selling both the versions of the phones around Rs 1,500 lower than the original cost. The price tag for the gadget is now pegged at Rs 29,640 for 8GB and Rs 34,580 for 16 GB. Vodafone has 33 outlets in the city. The original launch price was of Rs 31,000 for the 8GB version and Rs 36,100 for the 16GB version.

Asked why the prices have gone down from those announced, Harit Nagpal, chief marketing officer, Vodafone said, We are not keeping margins, as these are our own stores. At the launch of the iPhone, Vodafone had said that they will not sell iPhone at any other retail store that their own.

A spokesperson for Bharti Airtel said that the company wanted to stick to Apples price guidelines.

FE visited two different retail outlets of both the service providers in Mumbai. The Bharti Airtel outlet had sold (till evening) about 7-8 gadgets for the day while the Vodafone retail outlet reported a sale of 12-15 gadgets, including the pre-booking from the previous day. Most of the customers FE spoke to said that they compared the price factor as well as the data packages provided by the duo, before choosing the service provider.

Sources reveal that Bharti Airtel had 1,200 pre-bookings and Vodafone had 1,000 pre-bookings for the gadget in Mumbai. Interestingly, one of the customers at the store seemed to be annoyed with the price tag, though at the same time purchasing it. In India, its the costliest, even when 3G is not available here. All across the globe, you get it for about Rs 15, 000. Having an iPhone is like owing a Mercedes, a customer added. Its very difficult to put any figure at this point of time, it will take another 15 days before we can declare any official figures, said the spokesperson of Bharti Airtel. However, market sources added that the company sold over 200 iphones within the first hour of sale. Vodafone, at the moment, brings the gadget at a monthly postpaid plan for voice at Rs 799 and Rs 999 with free data usage of 250 MB/month and 600 MB/month. Data browsing on iPhone by Vodafone will be possible only if the customer subscribes to any of these plans.