Apple working to form ‘strategic partnerships’ with Indian carriers ahead of 4G expansion

Tim Cook on stage

Shortly after his pre-dawn spiritual experience at the Shree Siddhivinayak Temple at Prabhadevi in Mumbai, Apple CEO Tim Cook met the country’s top wireless carriers in an effort to strike a “strategic partnership” ahead of a wide-scale LTE expansion in the country.

India, home to population of 1.25 billion people, is about to witness the advent of high-speed fourth-generation wireless networks, a move that Apple sees as the opportunity to expand the market for iPhones, as reported today by The Economic Times of India.

The nation’s top carriers, Bharti Airtel and Reliance Jio Infocomm, are planning to start nationwide commercial 4G services this year.

An Airtel executive confirmed that it held talks with Apple about a broader strategic tie-up which “may include options such as distribution or selling through retail stores, offers on devices and even training of personnel.”

Cook will meet Airtel Chairman Sunil Mittal on Friday.

The Apple CEO is also scheduled to meet Tata Group Chairman Cyrus Mistry, Vodafone India CEO Sunil Sood, Tata Consultancy Services CEO NChandrasekaran, Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao and Maharashtra CM Devendra Fadnavis.

Tim Cook India packed schedule image 001

Local carriers and the distribution network will purely focus on 4G devices to push adoption of 4G services, said the report. As Apple currently reaches around 10,000-odd outlets in the country, it views the emerging 4G expansion as a way to make deeper inroads in India regarding iPhone sales and services.

“The thing that held not only us back, perhaps but some others as well, is that the LTE rollout in India just really began this year, and so we’ll begin to see some really good networks coming on in India,” Cook told analysts on a conference call last month.

“That will unleash the power and capability of the iPhone in a way that an older network, a 2.5G, or even some 3G networks, would not do.”

India is on track to become the world’s second-largest market for smartphones, overtaking the United States and coming in just behind China. Apple currently holds a three percent share of the country’s bourgeoning smartphone market.

Source: The Economic Times of India