Samsung and others want to stop Apple from selling refurbished iPhones in India

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A month after Apple sought permission from the Indian government to sell used iPhones in the country, the move has ignited backlash from competitors like Samsung and local phone vendors who are now opposing Apple’s move on environmental grounds, reports Bloomberg.

The newly formed Mobile and Communications Council has issued the letter to the government vehemently opposing Apple’s application. That group’s members include the largest Indian phone brands: Micromax, Intex and Samsung.

“Snob” value

“Why even consider allowing import of used phones when import of other used goods such as cars are precluded by 300 percent duty levies?” asked Ravinder Zutshi, chairman of the Mobile and Communications Council.

While much of the discussion revolves around potential damage to the environment caused by improper handling of outdated electronics and used phones in the country, some people claim allowing Apple to sell pre-owned devices there will hurt local economy because Indians “may choose Apple for its snob value”.

If Apple gets its way, India will become the world’s first country where refurbished iPhones will be officially available through Apple.

Refurbished iPhones, officially from Apple

A month ago, Apple moved to seek permission to sell refurbished iPhones from India’s Ministry of Environment and Forests. The application has since gone to so-called inter-ministerial discussion though the government has yet to take any decision on the matter.

“The government could go either way, though it’s encountering far greater local opposition than the first time around,” Bloomberg writes.

Apple’s sales tactics in India

Apple’s sales tactics in India includes removing the iPhone 4s and 5c from sale, cutting the iPhone 5s price in half, filing an application seeking permits to build and operate its own retail stores and bringing 500 Authorized Mobility Resellers locations to twelve Indian cities.

Why India matters

Selling pre-owned iPhones may help get the iconic smartphone into the hands of cash-strapped consumers in India, where Apple holds a minuscule two percent share of the local smartphone market. As many as four-fifths of phones sold in India cost less than $150, with branded smartphones available for as little as $35.

With population of 1.25 billion souls, India is the world’s third market for smartphones and the fastest-growing smartphone market in the world. Apple’s sales in India have topped $1 billion for the first time in the year ended March 2015.

Source: Bloomberg