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India’s ‘slow networks’ deter Apple’s growth

Tim Cook said India presents a “really great opportunity” for the firm, but slow networks and the informal retail structure across the country is holding the company back from realising its full potential.

India’s ‘slow networks’ deter Apple’s growth
Apple CEO Tim Cook

New York

He added that while India is the third-largest smartphone market in the world, it is dominated by “low-end” smartphones primarily because of the network and the economics due to which “the market potential has not been as great there.” 

“But I view India as where China was maybe seven to ten years ago from that point of view, and I think there’s a really great opportunity there,” he said. 

“If you look at India, and each country has a different story a bit, but the things that have held not only us back perhaps but some others as well is that the LTE roll-out with India just really began this year, and so we’ll begin to see some really good networks coming on in India,” Cook said on Tuesday. 

He said faster networks will “unleash the power and capability” of the iPhone in a manner that older networks like the 2.5G or even some 3G networks, would not do.”

“And so the infrastructure is one key,” he said. Cook described building the retail channel as another area that will help Apple get a stronghold in the market. 

He said unlike in the US, where the carriers sell the vast majority of phones, in India the carriers in general sell virtually no phones. “And so it’s out in retail, and retail is many different small shops,” he said. 

Promising future 

Cook pointed out that Apple has been working in India “with great energy” particularly over the last 18 months and he “encouraged” by the results the company is beginning to see in the market there. He said the company believes “there’s a lot more there.”

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