Indian mobile phone users need to check five important points before selecting iPhone 5c or 5s from Reliance Communications.
Apple has signed a major deal with Reliance Communications to sell its iPhone 5c and iPhone 5s smartphones to its users – with two years of data and voice plan.
The strategy behind the tie-up is to expand the number of people who are looking for an Apple device — without upfront payment and can be paid in installments over a two-year period.
With this offer – Indian telecom industry is trying to follow the footsteps of American telecoms such as T-Mobile USA, Sprint, AT&T, Verizon, etc.
But there is a difference. Reliance is not offering a locked iPhone to Indian customers. This means, you are free to make the full payment – at any point of time – and switch the service provider (if you are really unhappy with the service or getting a compelling service from its rivals).
There are multiple aspects you need to consider before buying iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c.
First, let us talk about the main advantage. Reliance Communications users will be free from making any upfront fee to buy iPhone 5c and iPhone 5s smartphones.
Second, these customers will get unlimited local and STD calls, SMS, national roaming and 3G data from Reliance Communications, one of the leading 3G operators in India, if you commit for 24 months.
There are multiple disadvantages that you are going to face – till you clear the last monthly payment. That is far away, and in this plan is 24 months.
Third, Reliance Communications mobile customers may not try to enjoy new voice and data benefits from its rival operators because leaving Reliance will be too costly for the user. For instance, if Bharti Airtel launches Google Nexus 10 (assume there is 10th version after 1 year) free of cost, Reliance Communications users will still be forced to commit towards its monthly payments for 24 months to Reliance.
If you discontinue the plan of Reliance, you will lose lots of money.
For 16GB version of Apple iPhone 5c, you need to pay Rs 2600 per month for 24 months. This means, you are paying Rs 62,400 in two years. What you get is one iPhone 5c worth Rs 42,000, plus unlimited voice and data for 24 months. Effectively, you are getting Rs 20,400 worth unlimited voice (local and STD) and data (2G, 3G, SMS).
Remember, Apple devices including iPhones face downward price revision as well. If there is a substantial dip in Apple iPhone price, it may not be good for the user. Also, the cost of data and voice is tend to increase. This will benefit the user since he will not be forced to pay extra his data and voice consumption in the next two years.
Reliance Communications 3G is available in 13 circles. Like any other operator in India, Reliance Communications does not offer seamless connectivity or 3G experience. But it is enhancing its investments in 3G network. The telecom operator says there will be no cap on data speed, data consumption, etc.
These kinds of commitments for a long term contract can hamper the user, if you need to come out and enjoy benefits from others.
Fourth, assume Apple has a new version in the next 12 months. If Reliance Communications does not make an upgrade offer to the existing users of Apple iPhone 5c or 5s, you will be forced to continue to use Apple iPhone 5c and iPhone 5s and make payments. This means, you will not be enjoying the new iPhones till the end of the 24-month period.
But operators such as Verizon in the U.S. allow users to upgrade phones and use data packages committed earlier.
Fifth, if you are not happy with this operator, there is no option to stop payment in between. Reliance Communications 3G is not the best solution for data connectivity as the service is not uninterrupted.
Earlier, American telecoms used to offer locked devices. In this case, you cannot even use the SIM of an overseas telecom when you are travelling abroad and trying to save some money. As mentioned earlier, Reliance is offering an unlocked device, as confirmed by its PR person. In the case of Reliance Communications deal, you need to pay for international calls and international roaming charges and are free to use overseas operators if they are offering cost effective packages.
One main benefit is that you will continue to get free unlimited calls and 3G data even if there is a drastic increase in tariffs in the industry.