Tata and Reliance, two biggest CDMA players in India, are coaxing Apple to bring CDMA iPhone to India. Apple CDMA phone doesn’t exist anywhere in the world and there are rumors for some time that Apple will bring out the CDMA phone. What better way to get the CDMA iPhone than getting it to the fastest growing telecom market of the world? And what better way than collaborating with India’s and probably world’s biggest conglomerates – Reliance and Tata? As per WSJ, Tata and Reliance are in talks with Apple for more than four months now and launch could take place anytime.
CDMA might give a fresh lease to iPhone in India. But it is not without its challenges.
CDMA iPhone challenges in India
Challenge #1 : GSM iPhone was launched by Airtel and Vodafone. There are bunch of contraband iPhones which were jailbroken and used on other networks too. In spite of that iPhone’s market share isn’t significant. It is less than 1%.
Challenge #2 : India loves the SIM card. It loves the SIM card so much that a dual SIM and triple SIM mobile phones are the most sought after phones in India. Indian handset makers like Micromax, Zen and Lava has built majority of their business on this category.
Challenge #3 : The history as well as the data doesn’t serve very well for a CDMA iPhone. That is the reason why Tata and Reliance both have dual play licenses and operate both GSM and CDMA networks.
At the end of 30th Jun 2010, India has 107.88 million CDMA subscribers and 527.62 million subscribers. 17% of the subscribers are CDMA and 83% are GSM subscribers. The percentage of CDMA subscribers used to be 25% only a year back.
How do you sell a CDMA iPhone to a country obsessed with SIM cards?