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Ahead of retail launch plan, iPhone 5 available on Indian e-commerce sites

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There’s no plan for the new to make an appearance in Indian markets anytime soon but that does not mean Indians cannot order one for themselves.

Sellers on , the e-commerce site, are offering the iPhone 5 at exorbitant prices, starting at Rs 74,000 and going up to Rs 88,000, to those who cannot wait to flaunt the . In their listing on the portal, they indicate they have just a couple of units available for order and these will be delivered after payment.

Officially, the iPhone 5 will start selling across retail stores in nine countries on Friday. India is not one of these.

A Bangalore-based seller on eBay claims, "The iPhone 5 will be dispatched within one business day on or after September 24 and will reach you the next business day in major cities." Offering cash on delivery for Bangalore buyers, the seller adds that those interested can also "buy it on an EMI basis with any ICICI, Citi or HDFC Bank credit card". The iPhone 5 will be available in the US for a suggested retail price of $199 for the 16GB model and $299 for the 32GB model and $399 for the 64GB model. eBay also allows sellers to auction products and the new 16GB iPhone 5 has received over 40 bids currently, with the listing still active at Rs 45,500.

Research outfit Convergence Catalyst believes smartphones priced above Rs 25,000 (includes the likes of Apple, the range, , etc) will make up to 6.5 per cent of the total Indian smartphone market in 2012.

At the end of 2011, the installed base of smartphones in India was estimated at 24 million units and smartphone sales are set to grow 77 per cent in India in 2012. Says Anshul Gupta, principal research analyst, Gartner India, “Although with iPhone 5, Apple has enhanced consumer experience further, it lacks the ‘wow’ experience or differentiating features like Siri in the last iteration to pull users from other brands. It may just be a sufficient hold on to existing iPhone users and provide them an upgrade opportunity. I think it should be available in India by the fourth quarter of 2012. No confirmation on pricing, though I would expect it to be at the high end, approximately $800+.” Strategy Analytics estimates that India will soon be the world’s third most valuable market for handset sales (by revenue), with wholesale (trade) revenues of mobile phones set to increase 60 per cent in India between 2012 and 2017.

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