Why Apple’s iPhone 4S costs so much in India

“The anguish and frustration of Indian mobile fascinates and users, who had long been waiting for the launch of iPhone 4S in India, erupted within a matter of few hours of announcement of the cost of iPhone 4S on the websites of Aircel and Bharti Airtel on Friday,” Shreya Basu reports for News Tonight.

“In no time, the social networking media was overflowing with comments disdaining the smartphone maker Apple. The launch price of iPhone in India is Rs 44,500 and evidently, it will be much more costly in India than in the rest of the world,” Basu reports. “Customers are fuming with the fact that the retail price of Apple iPhone 4S in India is much more than its retail price in the United States.”

Basu reports, “However, the situation holds no novelty for Apple or Indian users, for that matter. Starting from iPods, Apple products have always been priced considerably higher in India as compared to other nations like Singapore, Hong Kong and the United States.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Its not Apple’s fault.

As Cult of Mac’s John Brownlee reported with the iPhone 4’s launch in India, “In most of the world, when you buy an iPhone, you pay a small initial fee upfront, but the rest of the handset’s price is baked into your two year contract, which you pay off in monthly installments. In India, though? It’s totally backwards… and totally bizarre… Instead of the carrier subsidizing the cost of your iPhone, in India, you essentially subsidize Aircel to provide service to the iPhone 4 for you for the next twenty four months, with Aircel ‘paying you back’ in airtime credits over the course of two years until you, as they claim, ‘recover 100 percent of your upfront iPhone cost.'”

More info here.


  1. MDN’s take doesn’t explain why iPods and other Apple products are more expensive in India when there is no mobile service contract involved. Perhaps some type of import taxes?

    1. that and blatantly corrupt indian government. Its insane, but you have to pay bribes to get *anything* done there. I was recently there on a business trip, and had to bribe the mailman to make sure he immediately sent some first class mail… 😛

  2. As I wrote previously, in some BRIC countries the price of iPhone is much higher than it should be even though you pay all of the costs upfront, id est full price with no contract, and with customs import fee and value added tax added.

    This effectively sabotages iPhone adoption and possibly has to do with the way phones are distributed through select carriers, who are now suspected to coerce to maintain unjustified high prices.

    This also hurts Apple’s image, making people believe that the company is producer of “expensive toys”, rather than high quality commodity maker.

    For this, Apple is partially to blame, since the company signed these bad distribution deals. Apple holds other goods such as iPads differently, so prices there are competitive.

  3. It would have been nice to tell people about how much it is in US$. I ran it through a currency convertor and it comes out in the neighborhood of $850-855. That’s a huge price to pay on Indian wages. That’s a lot here in the US! Yikes!

  4. Apple, if you’re listening, pull your products from India. Those people clearly don’t deserve you. The people of India can’t be so massively ignorant to not know how the carriers work in their land as its not new news, or a surprise ace up the Indian carriers sleeve. Its so easy to blame someone, and who else but Apple of course.
    There shall not be Apple Masala served tonight.

  5. A really sad reality.
    India would be an amazing market for Apple. However, Apple has traditionally never treated it like it matters..
    Would the iPhone be a success in the US if it was priced at 1150 or 1200$ – instead of the comparable 850 for the 64Gb?
    If that was the only option to be able sell it – pay upfront ?

    Why don’t they just adress it thus…

    In another way to look at it, if they sell so many and so many users buy it grey market or pick up when travel abroad – there has got to be a proof of interest that is worthy of addressing…

    In the meanwhile, it is being overtaken by a flood of Android – SADLY !!! Very Sadly !!!!

    Can anyone suggest how to get thru to Tim / Apple?

    Hello is anybody listening ???

    1. In the meanwhile, it is being overtaken by a flood of Android –

      Aren’t the Android & Windows phones in the same boat? I’m surprised that Apple allows Indian carriers to charge extra for an iPhone. I recall reading about a Canadian carrier (Rogers?) that tried to charge extra for the original iPhone and Apple slapped ’em silly.

      1. I am a Rogers customer. We get screwed in Canada with 3yr terms. In lieu of that Rogers graciously sells us the iPhone subsidized for a slighter lesser amount that what you folks in the U.S. pay. $360.00 rather than $399.00.

  6. India opened up the markets but is still living in socialist and leftist world. If the Indian government charges 30-50% duty on electronics imported from other countries,Apple is not going to subsidize the iphone. Heck even a stripped down,bare bone Honda Accord costs 40K USD in India. Indians keep voting lefties and they pay taxes and duties and complain about Apple being Pricey.

    1. Can you and people like you PUH-lease go and learn what socialist and leftist actually mean — and please stop using it as a knee-jerk comment on anything your “robber-barons are so wonderful” religion doesn’t like.

    2. well said man.. if all that matters to voters is that men in orange want to stop your mating rituals in college so you say to your self we want “secularists” and vote them time and again and what does it matter that you have to pay twice for a pint of beer/whiskey when you go out to relax or for electronic commodities like the iphone because they will keep taxing us middle class and milking em for votes at the same time because thats what secularism is at the end of the day… socialism in very bad taste

  7. As I see it, there are two major problems in India: Corruption and lack of Credit. I have spent a couple of months travelling within India on three trips and found that they don’t easily get credit, mortgages or loans. Trust is a rare thing. As others have found, every little thing you want to do you have to pay a small (or sometimes large) bribe or Bucksheesh because they claim that they are paid so little. Unfortunately, the system is set up so that every lowly person pays it up to their bosses who in turn pay it up to their bosses or a government official.

    A company from outside of India who wants to set up there must double the cost of a set up just to cover the bribes, fees, licences, permissions, variances, exemptions or whatever they dream up to extort money. The whole county is tied up in it. As I see it, these two problems, corruption and lack of credit are going to keep India from developing to become a world player that she could be with such a huge population base. These two problems are indicative of a shortage of progress in honesty, trust and the ability to fulfill a promise.

  8. Still not clearly articulated — WHY are Android-powered smart phone sales literally exploding in India? How can Indians afford to purchase these Android devices? Specifically, why the price discrepancy?


  9. Left undiscussed by the article — WHY the rapid proliferation of Android-powered smart-phone devices in India? Spcifically, and perhaps by model of Android device, how are they more affordable to the average Indian consumer than an iPhone? Are Android smart-phone vendors subsidizing the cost of their products? How much?


  10. The reason Android sells well in India is due to its price points. You can get a high end Android device factory unlocked for 30% less than what you would pay for the iPhone 4s. Infact, its cheaper to buy a factory unlocked Android device in India than almost anywhere in the world. I think the iPhone 4s pricing is ridiculous! No smart phone on this planet should cost 40k!+. After all, its a phone!

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