India will get its first fully subsidized Apple handset thanks to Reliance Communications (RCom), which announced plans today to sell the 16GB models of iPhone 5c and iPhone 5s on a 2-year contract with monthly payments and no money down. The news will open up Apple’s products to a larger portion of the country’s population, though only a fifth of India’s population own a credit card, which is necessary to take advantage of the deal.
RCom will offer the 16GB iPhone 5c for 2,599 Indian Rupees (US$42) per month and the 5s for Rs 2,999 (US$49) on a contract that includes unlimited calls, texting and data at no extra charge. Models with additional built-in storage come with the same monthly fees, but also require initial down payments. The 32GB iPhone 5c costs Rs 11,600 ($189) upfront, while the 32GB iPhone 5s costs 10,992 ($178) and the 64GB 5s costs Rs 19,992 ($324).
In an official statement, RCom Wireless President and CEO Gurdeep Singh said the new contracts “break all ownership rules,” calling the iPhone “a dream for users in India and overseas.” He expects an extremely positive response to the carrier’s new plan, which opens up for pre-orders starting tonight at midnight.