Reliance Communications has now signed a deal with Apple wherein a user can pick up the 16GB version of the 5c and the 5s at a zero upfront cost, according to the Hindu. RCom will now be selling the device at a subsidised rate ranging from Rs 2,599 (for the 5c) to Rs 2,999 (for the 5s) per month. The company, in the deal, is offering unlimited voice calling, SMS and 3G data for the fixed monthly fee. The only catch: the user will be locked in to RCom’s network for two years under contract, a system that has been prevelant in countries like the US for some time now.
Aspiring users wanting to pick up the 64GB version of the 5s will have to pay Rs 19,992 up front. There seems to be some discrepancies with the amount that users have to pay for the subsidised 32GB version of the new devices, so it would be advisable to wait for the official word. The company, to ensure that the new devices aren’t misused or sold in the grey market before the contract is over, will only be offering this deal to users who have an ICICI or HDFC credit card.
This is notably the first time that an Indian telecom company has agreed to subsidise an iPhone. In the past, most Indian operators have shied away from the prospect for fear that subscribers would dishonour the phone for use on another operator’s network or resell it on the grey market. The high number of pre-paid customers in the Indian mobile market has also been another reason why operators have been wary of tracking down defaulters.
While RCom has been tightlipped about the deal, the source claims that the offer will be officially announced today, although the company’s website still says that the new devices are “coming soon.” Telecom rival Airtel will also be selling the new iPhones in the market, although there is no mention of a subsidy being involved. Interestingly, the 5s listing on the company’s site already shows that the device is “out of stock”.