May 12, 2008

Airtel ties up with Apple to launch iPhone

India's largest mobile operator Bharti Airtel on Monday announced a tie-up with US-based Apple Inc to bring the popular GSM-based iPhone in the country.

"Bharti Airtel has signed a deal with Apple to bring the iPhone to India later this year," the telco said in a statement.

Sources, however, said that Airtel may start offering iPhones around Diwali festival to its over 65 million GSM-based subscribers.

Asked about the prices, they declined to give any details about the agreement, the company entered into with Apple Inc. But in the grey market the devices are available in the range of 500 to 600 dollars (about Rs 25,000), sources said, adding that these handsets procured from the grey market need to be unlocked.

Airtel's announcement comes on the heels of world's largest mobile phone operator Vodafone announcing last week to distribute iPhones worldwide including India.

iPhone is a mobile phone that allows its users to make calls by simply tapping a name or number in the address book.

It leads the customers to select and listen to voice-mail messages in whatever order the consumer wants.

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