The iPhone was launched with much fanfare in Bangalore a couple of days back and is being simultaneously launched in other cities as well. Both Vodafone and Airtel are introducing the model with various service plans.
The whole thing appears to be a ridiculous joke! The phones are being priced at approx 738 USD while being locked to the provider’s serivice plan. Close to 4x the price of the same in other places. In addition the Service plans are not cheap either. Vodafone’s starting plan has a rental of approx 18 USD per month with 249 free call minutes and 250M data transfer limit. Obviously additional charges apply if you cross these limits. Over and above this 3G services are not available yet in India making the Phone’s 3G features useless. Though this situation might change soon enough. Essentially things are setup to ride on the hype and drain subscribers pockets.
In addition remember that these phones are the jail-locked ones with the known limitations of iPhones. Some things like no USB storage mode at the bidding of Apple. I see absolutely no point in emptying my pockets for fancy dancing icons and rotating, zooming, jumping displays GAH. I really do need an email-centric and basic web-centric smartphone which I can also use as USB storage and possibly tethered modem at a later date. I am not too hell-bent on touchscreen either, though that is nice of course. I also prefer an open standards device that is free of unprecedented levels of closed corporate lock-ins. One can get unlocked iPhones in the Indian gray market for USD 507.
However in addition the general mobile data plans are also extremely ridiculous in India. Hopefully things should change with 3G services coming and the State owned Telecom giant BSNL piloting EVDO based 2.4 MBps unlimited wireless internet service at just 18 USD per month.