Apple on Monday came under the scanner of Competition Commission of India (CCI) following a complaint filed by an user against the company for following anti-competitive practices in selling its products and for abusing its dominant position in the market.
The complainant alleged that iPhone maker is limiting customers' choice by restricting the availability of iOS devices to a few service providers and specific stores.
iPhone 4, the latest version of smartphone from Apple is currently available on Indian carriers such as Aircel and Bharti Airtel, which are operator locked, while iPads are available only through its signature stores.
The complainant has also alleged that users can only download software from the i-store and the others are not recognized by the device, Indian newswire PTI reported, quoting an unnamed senior CCI official.
An operator-locked iPhone in the country costs more than $600 on a two-year contract excluding additional monthly charges. Whereas similar handset is subsidized in the US and unlocked phones can be bought for $649.
The carriers are taking undue advantage of Apple’s exclusivity, irrespective of how much they paid for it, ZDNet, an online technology news site reported.
The CCI should look into this carrier malpractice during their investigation since a carrier-locked handset is being sold at the price of an unlocked iPhone.
“Apple India is not involved in determining the iPhone prices. Apple launched iPhones in India almost an year after they’ve been released in the US which means they do not consider India as a potential market,” the report said.
Also, servicing of Apple phones is limited to the company’s service centers, who take undue advantage and charge high rates.
The commission is expected to look into the complaint by the end of this week, the report said.
Smartphone market is growing at a brisk pace in India as more carriers are rolling out 3G services across the country. Smartphones sales are estimated to reach 12 million in the country by the end of 2011, according to a study by CyberMedia Research.