Nokia and RIM much ahead of Apple in Indian Smartphone Market

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Apple is the world’s largest smartphone maker, but when it comes to India’s smartphone market, the technology giant is yet to make a mark.  Nokia and RIM are selling more mobile devices than Apple in the India, says a recent report from Bloomberg.

There are various reasons why Apple is not reaching out to the Indian smartphone market which is growing at a rapid pace, and has over 602 million active subscribers.

“Sales for the world’s biggest company by market value are hindered because Indian wireless carriers, which started third- generation networks this year, have yet to offer nationwide services fast enough to take advantage of iPhone features,” says Gus Papageorgiou, an analyst at Scotia Capital Inc. in Toronto.

“Networks in India are just not conducive for Apple — 3G networks aren’t quite where they are in Western Europe and North America. RIM’s BlackBerry Messenger instant-messaging service is popular because it was one of the first, and it functions well on networks a generation behind the speeds offered in the U.S. and Europe,” he adds.

Nokia accounted for 46 percent of India’s smartphone shipments, Samsung Electronics 21 percent, RIM 15 percent and Apple only 2.6 percent, according to IDC estimates.

Indian smartphone users dream to own a iPhone, but Apple’s products are not quite accessible here. Consumers can’t buy iPhones, iPads and iTunes songs from the company stores. They can only purchase Apple products from licensed resellers like Reliance Industries Ltd. subsidiary and Tata Group’s Croma.

The high cost of Apple products may be another hindrance to its growth in India.

“I don’t think Apple is a brand for the masses,” said Ajit Joshi, managing director of Croma, which also sells other brands besides Apple. “It’s a brand for the classes.”

Apple’s nonchalance to India’s potential mobile market, seems to be benefiting other players like RIM and Nokia. RIM has expanded its distribution to 80 cities from 15, starting last year. Nokia has more than 200,000 outlets in India and offers 13 smartphone models.

“It’s a brand-in-waiting. Apple is waiting for infrastructure and consumer maturity,” said Viren Razdan, managing director of consulting firm Interbrand’s Mumbai office.

Looks like Apple fans in India have to wait a little longer to see it products in the market.


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