Like Vodafone, Airtel Asks $715 for IPhone 3G in India

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Bharti Airtel will be selling the iPhone 3G phone from Apple from Aug. 22 at prices similar to those announced by Vodafone Essar on Tuesday.

Both mobile services providers are offering the iPhone 3G with an 8G-byte flash drive at a hefty price of 31,000 rupees (US$715). The 16G-byte version is priced at 36,100 rupees.

The entry-level version is expensive by Indian standards, and a number of prospective customers were disappointed at the pricing announced by the two mobile service providers. Some were hoping that the price of the iPhone 3G would be subsidized by the service providers.

In the U.S., for example, AT&T is offering the 8G-byte model of the iPhone 3G at $199, after bundling it with a two-year contract.

"We see the iPhone 3G as a lifestyle product, but both Airtel and Vodafone have priced them at levels similar to business mobile phones," said R. Satish, a software engineer in Bangalore.

Both Airtel and Vodafone are planning midnight events to launch the phone. The crowds at the events planned at the service providers' outlets in key cities are expected to be large, some to buy, others out of curiosity.

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