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Two-year scheme for iPhone 5 twins

Mumbai, Nov. 1: Apple aficionados will probably be jumping with joy.

On Friday, when the iPhone 5S debuted in India, Reliance Communications sprang a surprise by offering the latest Apple iPhones under a two-year contract.

The contractual plan, being introduced for the first time in India, offers the iPhone 5S at Rs 2,999 a month for 24 months. The iPhone 5C comes for Rs 2,599 a month.

There will be no down payment for the 16GB versions of the latest iPhones. The iPhone 5C (16GB) carries a price tag of Rs 41,900.

The Anil Ambani-owned company will, however, seek a down payment of Rs 19,992 for an iPhone 5S (64GB) against the price of Rs 71,500 that other retailers will be charging.

The down payment for the 32GB version of the iPhone 5S will be Rs 10,992 against the retail price of Rs 62,000.

Surprisingly, R-Com will be charging a higher down payment of Rs 11,600 for the 32GB version of the iPhone 5C that will retail for Rs 52,000.

The iPhone 5S will come in gold, silver or space grey; the iPhone 5C in blue, green, pink, yellow and white.

The R-Com scheme mimics the contracts that telecom players like AT&T, Verizon and Sprint offer in the US, which have been critical in helping Apple build a mass customer base there.

“Our novel iPhone offers break all ownership rules and put the customer first,” said Gurdeep Singh, president and CEO (wireless) of R-Com.

The company has tied up partnerships with four credit card issuers — Citibank, HDFC Bank, ICICI Bank and Standard Chartered — to push the sales of the new iPhones. In one sense, these tie-ups will mitigate the risk of offering the handsets without a full down payment since the card issuers will bear the burden of recovering the cost.

The 24-month offer seeks to recover the cost of the handset over that period. It also offers unlimited local and STD calls and text messages across all networks, national roaming, and 3G data. The telecom regulator’s guidelines restrict text usage to 3,000 texts per month.

R-Com said that under the terms of the “game-changing offer”, customers would not receive any usage bill for 24 months as the monthly payments include all usage charges. Only international calls and international roaming charges will have to be paid for.

Customers can buy the new iPhones from any Reliance outlet in the company’s 13 3G circles. R-Com is promising a maximum 3G data speed of 21Mbps and GPRS speeds in non-3G circles.

The telecom company, which boasts a customer base of over 110 million, says the latest iPhone offer is part of its efforts to attract high-value, post-paid customers.

The new iPhone 5S introduces Touch ID, the fingerprint sensor for the iPhone. Built into the home button, Touch ID uses a laser-cut sapphire crystal, together with the capacitive touch sensor, to take a high-resolution image of the user’s fingerprint and use that to unlock the device. The iPhone 5S also has a 4-inch Retina display.

Both phones feature the iOS 7 with features like AirDrop, Safari, Siri and a free Internet radio called iTunes Radio.