Looking to cash in on the craze for the latest Apple smartphones in the country, Airtel is offering the new Apple iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus smartphones to customers on contract basis at a minimum down payment of Rs. 19,990 and Rs. 30,792, respectively. Under this offer, the telecom operator will provide unlimited local and STD calls, free roaming, and free data (5GB, 10GB or 15GB, as per the plan you choose) under a new postpaid plan.
The offer, however, is available only to customers in Noida and Karnataka, according to the Airtel website. An Airtel representative whom Gadgets 360 spoke to said that this plan is under “testing” in these regions.
Update, 10 October 2016: Sources have reiterated to Gadgets 360 that the offer is available only in Delhi and Bengaluru, and added it's for select enterprise customers only. Meanwhile, Airtel has issued the following official statement with respect to the said plans:
We understand that there is some confusion regarding two separate offers from Airtel on iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 plus.
There is a special 10 GB per month free additional data offer with any Airtel Infinity plan with iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 plus. The offer is open for all customers and is very much active.
There is also a device lease plan, which is being piloted for employees of select enterprise customers, and this offer is also very much active.
In the interest of customers and to avoid any further confusion, relevant changes are being made to the website. These will reflect shortly.
As part of this plan, new and existing Airtel customers can opt for the ‘iPhone for Life’ plan by making a down payment to get their iPhone 7 or iPhone 7 Plus. The remaining amount will be paid for by Bajaj Finance Limited. Customers can choose between either of three postpaid plans mentioned below, and can switch the plans when they wish to. They must remain subscribed to the ‘iPhone for Life’ plan for one year.
(Also see: Top 10 Features of iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus)
During the one year period, customers will not be able to port to another network, switch to non-‘iPhone for Life’ plans (either postpaid or prepaid), terminate the services, or transfer ownership of neither the plan nor the iPhone to someone else. However, customers have the option to foreclose the loan from Bajaj Finance by paying the charges that the company levies.
After the completion of one year, the iPhone 7 users will have two options: either to upgrade to the next version of the iPhone or to buy the handset they are using by making a balloon payment. Following are the down payment options as well as the corresponding balloon payments under this plan.
Additionally, if a customer does not visit an Airtel store to return the iPhone 7 or upgrade it, Bajaj Finance will automatically debit the balloon payment amount from their bank account at the end of the thirteenth month. The users can then keep the handset with themselves.
However, Airtel has not mentioned the charges, if any, will be levied to ‘iPhone for Life’ subscribers who want to upgrade to next year’s iPhone. Moreover, Airtel has the option to refuse the upgrade to users who have damaged the iPhone 7 or iPhone 7 Plus units given to them under this plan. Users can be refused an upgrade if the iPhone unit given to them is returned with damaged or missing part, heavy wear and tear, or non-standard components.
In order to upgrade or return the iPhone 7 or 7 Plus, customers have to visit an Airtel store within 30 days of the completion of their year-long rental period. They can then also decide to go for another postpaid plan; if they do not state which postpaid plan they wish to subscribe to, Airtel will continue with their existing plan, but at a lower rate. According to Airtel’s website, the Rs. 1,999 plan would then cost Rs. 1,199, the Rs 2,499 plan would go down to Rs 1,599, and the charges for the Rs 2,999 plan will become Rs 1,999 per month.
The ‘iPhone for Life’ plan cannot be clubbed with other offers that Airtel is running.
Airtel’s offer comes around the same time Reliance Jio announced that it will offer iPhone users free calling and 4G data a total of 15 months, or an extra year after the welcome offer expires for everyone else.
Under this offer, Reliance Jio users will get unlimited local, STD and national roaming voice calls, 20GB of 4G data, unlimited 4G data usage at night, 40GB of Wi-Fi data at Jio hotspots, unlimited SMS, and subscription to Jio's apps. The company pegs the value of all this at Rs. 18,000. Enterprise customers get an additional discount of 25 percent.
This year's iPhone models come in three storage variants – 32GB, 128GB, and 256GB. The 32GB iPhone 7 has been priced at Rs. 60,000, while the 128GB iPhone 7 has been priced at Rs. 70,000, and the 256GB iPhone 7 has been priced at Rs. 80,000. The 32GB iPhone 7 Plus has been priced at Rs. 72,000, the 128GB iPhone 7 Plus has been priced at Rs. 82,000, while the 256GB iPhone 7 Plus has been priced at Rs. 92,000.