Unlocked iPhone 4S is priced out of reach of average folks in India.

Currently available in 44 countries, Apple’s iPhone 4S is patiently awaited in 26 additional territories as Apple makes good on its promise to have the device available in over 70 markets and on 100 carriers before end of the year. iPhone 4S has been well received in Japan and Singapore and pre-orders sold out in Hong Kong in 10 minutes, but reportedly not so much in South Korea…

Be that as it may, would-be buyers in Russia, India and Taiwan needn’t worry as the handset is arriving to their country soon (it goes on sale in Colombia today at midnight). If a market source talking to Taiwan’s Central News Agency is to be trusted, iPhone 4S is arriving mid-December even though Taiwan’s carriers Chunghwa Telecom, Taiwan Mobile and Far EasTone Telecommunications are yet to announce pre-sale orders which are understood to begin next week.

Alexander Malis, president of major mobile retail chain Euroset, told Prime News Agency that iPhone 4S is set to arrive in Russia between December 5 and 21 exclusively via carriers MTS and VimpelCom. Last year, iPhone 4 hit Russia three months after its United States debut.

As a side-note, enhanced GPS features of iPhone 4S include support for GLONASS, a version of Global Navigation Satellite System operated for the Russian government by the Russian Space Forces. A really technical review by AnandTech teaches us that the updated MDM6610 modem chip from Qualcomm inside the iPhone 4S taps both GLONASS and GPS simultaneously to deliver more reliable and faster location services.

Unfortunately, fans in India will pay exorbitant prices for iPhone 4S – all over again.

Apple was late to introduce iPhone 4 and iPad 2 to India as both devices arrived in June 2011. It’s different with iPhone 4S, which launches in the 1.2 billion people market of India tomorrow via carriers Bharti Airtel and Aircel (Apple’s practice of selling the iPhone 4 through only two mobile operators in India provoked scrutiny by the Competition Commission of India). Each carrier has been taking pre-orders for some time, announcing pricing for tariffs on the eve of the official launch. Both Airtel and Aircel tempt iPhone 4S buyers with the similarly packed and priced prepaid and postpaid plans with a discount.

They offer a decent value for money until you compare them to Vodafone as both Airtel’s and Aircel’s tariffs are anything but subsidized – even though they are being advertised as such. Aircel wrote on Twitter in response to this story that “the iPhone 4S is bundled with tariff plans and allows you to save over two years, which grealy subsidizes the cost of the plan”. It should be noted that phones in India are generally sold carrier unlocked and without a SIM card, allowing people to choose a phone and their network separately. This lets price-conscious shoppers who buy an iPhone 4S unlocked through Aircel or Airtel to buy their pre or postpaid plan at Vodafone or a dozen other carriers in the country. Mind you, that still fails to reasonably explain the enormous upfront cost for the hardware.

Both Airtel and Aircel list the 16/32/64 GB iPhone 4S at 44,500/50,900/57,500 Indian Rupees, or approximately $865/$990/$1,120. Again, these are non-subsidized prices and those willing to sign on a dotted line for one of the tariffs will get a better deal. With or without contract, total cost of ownership is simply astronomical for a country with the largest concentration of people – a whopping 41.6 percent – who live below the World Bank’s international poverty line of $1.25 a day.

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