Apple’s plan to sell used iPhones in India incites industry opposition

Apple’s latest attempt to woo Indian consumers by selling them used iPhones is being met with strong opposition from manufacturers here. The US-based brand is looking to gain permission to become the first company to import and sell old handsets in the country.

This is Apple’s second crack at getting the license to do so. A new lobby called the Mobile and Communications Council, made up of firms such as Samsung, Micromax and Intex, has now written a letter to the government asking it to deny the brand permission as it could lead to extensive electronic waste, harm local companies and impede the progress of the Make in India program.

Apple iPhone

Karbonn Mobiles Chairman Sudhir Hasija goes as far as to claim that Make in India could turn into Dump in India if the government allows Apple to go ahead with the scheme. The lobby further questions why the administration is even considering the prospect when the import of used goods like cars attracts 300% duty levies.

Apple currently commands a market share of less than 2% in India. The company wants to tap into the nation’s rising potential by vending refurbished phones to budget-conscious consumers without compromising on its image as a premium brand. The iPhone SE is one way of doing that, but will still be unable to reach most of the buying public given its Rs 39000 price tag.

Also See: 64GB Apple iPhone SE to cost Rs 49000

As per Bloomberg (via 9to5Mac), Apple could target annual iPhone sales of 10 million by 2017 if its plan works out. While its rivals cry out about the environmental impact importing used phones could have, it’s a known fact that the manufacturer recycles 85% of devices. The company’s current iPhone upgrade scheme in the US may allow for over 15 million iPhones to be refurbished and sold in countries like India.

Hasija thinks Indians will buy these refurbished iPhones even if they cost above Rs 10000 purely for its snob value. For now, the ball is in the government’s court and its decision will likely have a major impact on the Indian smartphone market in the future.