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Posted by on Sep 13, 2012 in iPhone, Mobiles | 5 comments

iPhone 5 release in India, price and compatibility with networks

Ok, after the dust settles down from all the gaga created by the iPhone 5 launch yesterday the real question for an Apple fan in India is when will the device launched here and at what price and if at all is it worth to buy an iPhone 5 in India at a premium. I would clarify on the key technical aspects you’ll miss, when you use iPhone 5 in India .
iPhone 5, Picture curtesy : Apple

        So the iPhone 5 specifications are :

 ▪ A6 processor, 2x faster than the dual-core A5
    processor on the  iPhone 4S
▪A6 chip also offers graphics performance that’s up to
    twice as fast as the A5
▪4 inch IPS Retina Display with a screen resolution of
    1136×640 pixels
▪iOS 6
▪16GB, 32GB and 64GB internal memory
▪8-megapixel iSight camera
▪FaceTime HD camera with 1.2MP
▪Dual-band 802.11n Wireless Connectivity –
    speeds up to 150  Mbps
▪Bluetooth 4.0
▪HSPA, HSPA+, and DC-HSDPA supports
▪Lightning connector
▪Siri with new features
▪New maps designed by Apple
The new iPhone might not be revolutionary, but it sure is evolutionary in terms of design process as the iPhone 5 is thinner at the same time powerful than its predecessors. An important technical change/addition in the new iPhone missed by many leading Tech/Gadget sites is the GLONASS, the Russian satellite navigation system instead of GPS as with the previous iPhones. Though widely anticipated NFC (Near Field Communication ) is missing, which would had been a great addition to the new passbook feature of iOS 6 which can store your gift cards, coupons and passes in a secure way.
Apple has not yet announced the Indian release date but keeping with its previous release schedules, Indian market would see the iPhone 5 some time december according to the market analyst Rajeev Gopi who works for IDC. He predicts the iPhone 5 prices in India to range between 45,000 rupees ($818) and 50,000 rupees ($909) in the WSJ blog.
That apart, the real question is whether the iPhone 5 user in India would find it as satisfying as an user in US ? considering the main features of the shiny new iPhone such as LTE and Facetime over Cellular will not work in India ? at least for the next few years. As a matter of fact, iPhone 4S users have not yet fully explored the potential of their now- previous generation iPhone as even a proper 4G network is not available across the country.
India might not be fully devoid of the latest telecommunication standards such as LTE, as India based worlds fifth largest network (based on users) – Airtel has deployed 4G LTE in the city of Kolkata, offering blistering fast bandwidths for internet data dongles. Airtel might soon introduce 4G LTE for cellular networks but the issue is that it operates in 2300MHz spectrum band , it bought during the auction held in 2010 and the iPhone 5 does not support this spectrum.
Take a look at the LTE frequencies supported by the iPhone 5 as posted in their official website,
Picture Curtesy : Apple/Engadget
As you can see, Apple has two models of iPhone 5 to support multiple LTE frequencies across the globe but does not feature a 2300MHz spectrum as required by Airtel in Indian city of Kolkata.
Next important feature is Facetime over cellular, as couple of US networks including Verizon has announced the compatibility with the video call feature in iPhone 5 there is no information whether it would work in India. My guess is it requires at least 4G based connection which is not available here as of now.
Another major US network Sprint has announced the incompatibility of iPhone 5 with its HD Voice feature, which provides super clear voice clarity during calls. The Sprint HD Voice works over wider band of frequencies which is not supported by the iPhone 5. In India HD voice is supported in Tata Docomo over their 3G network though iPhone 5 uses 3G GSM (UMTS) for HD voice, Apple doesn’t partner with Tata Docomo in India for their previous releases. So probably the only way you could use the HD Voice feature in India is by using Tata Docomo over Unlocked iPhone 5.
So, don’t expect me to say it – There’s No Cookie, for us guys ! The above cool features would not work in India for at least next few years  so it is up to you to decide whether you are ready to shell out a premium for the iPhone 5. Even if Apple gets it subsidised through networks such as Airtel and Aircel, like it did with iPhone 4S, I am not going to be satisfied with it unless the price gets heavily subsidised for the missing features or a new iPhone5 GSM model for the markets like India would be interesting.
On the other hand if the iPhone 4/4S gets an offer from Aircel like the iPhone 3GS did (5 reasons to buy iPhone 3GS for Rs 9,999), it would surely mean a better option to buy iPhone 4/4S in India than buying the iPhone 5 as it would have iOS6 and if not all, we can still use most of the features in it which we pay for !

As an added note, the iPhone 5 comes with a nano-sim which means even if you buy the new iPhone unlocked from other countries you would still have lots of work to do !

Updated : To add more information on HD Voice.

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Indiandragon though Developer, Hacker and Researcher by profession, he aslo writes on Movies, Sports and Entertainment in News@Indiandragon. He specialises in Technology, Defence and Information Security.
  • Nice.. i want to buy a smartphone, but some people say’s Apple iphone5 and some say’s Samsung Galaxy s3, i got confused to buy this pls give a clear idea to buy thanks,,,,, 

  • If you are going to buy a High end smart phone now, Samsung S3 is a better choice than to wait and buy iPhone5 simply because of the more features you get with S3.

  • Chris Anderson

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