4G PENETRATION WILL SPUR IPHONE SALES IN INDIA, SAYS TIM COOK

BENGALURU (TIP): The massive 4G roll-out will aid in the growth of iPhone sales in India, said Apple CEO Tim Cook. He added that the large young population and growing middle class will mean that the country will be a big market for Apple in the years to come. Apple saw its India sales growing by 50% in the last 12 months, the company said in an earnings call with analysts after its quarterly results.

“We are seeing some very exciting developments in India and beginning to scratch the surface of this large and growing market opportunity,” Cook said adding that the roll-out of Reliance Jio with a first of its kind all-IP network in India with 4G coverage in 18,000 cities and 200,000 villages across the country will boost the iPhone sales. “They are offering a free year of service to purchasers of new iPhones and we are partnering with them to ensure great iPhone performance on their network.”

Apple has seen its iPhone7 sales not scorching the charts in China and the revenue from the country decreasing by 30% and is under increasing pressure to boost its sales. The company’s overall revenue fell by 9% during the quarter to$47 billion. Its profits also fell to $9 billlion from $11 billion during the quarter. Apple is expecting India sales to boost its sagging fortune in the near future. However analysts were sceptical with India’s per capita income being way below China’s.

“I think it’s important to look not only at per capita income. I think it’s clear that the population of India will exceed China sometime in probably the next decade or so, maybe less than that. If you sort of look at the number of people that are or will move into the middle class sort of over the next decade. And the age of the population, if you look at India, almost 50% of the population is under 25,” Cook said. High-end smartphones has not done as well in India in general and attributed it to lack of great telecom infrastructure. “But this year or this year and next year, there are enormous investments going in on 4G and we couldn’t be more excited about that because it really takes a great network working with iPhone to produce that great experience for people. And so I see a lot of the factors moving in the right direction there. I also think the government is much more focused on the infrastructure and on creating jobs, which is fantastic, because you really need the kind of infrastructure and the technology to do that,” Cook said. Apple said it sold 45.51 million iPhones globally in the three months ended September 24. Cook had recently visited India. There has also been reports of Apple setting up manufacturing unit in India. Apple has partnered with e-commerce major Flipkart for online sales in India.