Airtel, Vodafone iphones in India, thanks to Apple

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Gurgaon, Aug 22: The wait is finally over as Bharti Airtel and Vodafone on the stroke of Midnight launched the much-awaited iPhone in the country.

The phone is priced at Rs 31,000 for 8GB version and Rs 36,100 for 16 GB version. Apple's iPhone will be available from midnight at 19 Apple resellers and Airtel stores, as well as in Bharti and Vodafone stores. Even as the phone was launced in the dark hours, many throng the show to see and feel the product.

''The handset was available in the cities of Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Bangalore and Hyderabad from last night, while 65 cities can buy it from today,'' Airtel President (Mobility) Sanjay Kapoor told reporters here.

The company remained tight-lipped about the sales projections and the number of units shipped.

Apple's iPhone is perhaps the most awaited phone launch in recent times, with the sets being available in the grey market.

The phone has hogged limelight for its features and the sheer genius with which the phone has been unlocked by hackers.

Asked about the high pricing of the handset, Mr Kapoor said, ''in western countries, the phone comes with a contractual obligation with the service provider wherein the whole price of the phone is recovered over a course of time. In India, there is no such practice, therefore, we are collecting the entire cost at one go.'' Airtel has received 2,00,000 pre-bookings for the phone since the process had started about two months back, he added.

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

Talking about the hacking softwares available in the market for hacking the iPhone, Mr Kapoor said, ''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.'' Currently, there are more than 30,000 iPhone users in India using the second generation of iPhones (2G), he said.


UNI

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