Apple’s Plan to Sell Used iPhones in India Opposed by Samsung  


In an attempt to increase its market share in India, Apple wants to sell used iPhones. But there is a problem: A number of industry executives are opposing the move, claiming that by allowing Apple to sell used handsets, India will open the “floodgates to electronic waste, jeopardize local players, and make a farce of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Make in India program to encourage local manufacturing”, reports Bloomberg.

IPhone models

By selling refurbished iPhones, Apple could attract price-sensitive consumers to its ecosystem. The iPhone SE, Apple’s lower-cost iPhone, is targeted at such markets, but refurbished iPhones could sell at a much lower price and compete against manufacturers that target the low-end of the market.

As Bloomberg points out, four-fifths of phones cost less than $150, and branded smartphones are available for as little as $35 in India.

Manufacturers such as Micromax, Intex, and Samsung (and others) have recently formed the Mobile and Communications Council, which lobbied against Apple in a letter sent to the government.

“Why even consider allowing import of used phones when import of other used goods such as cars are precluded by 300 percent duty levies?” asked Ravinder Zutshi, chairman of the newly formed Mobile and Communications Council, which issued the letter.

One of the major complaints is that allowing Apple to sell refurbished iPhones in India could nix Modi’s initiative to ignite local manufacturing, as it would increase imports of electronic products. Another complaint targets the environmental impact of those handsets:

“The millions of imported used phones will need their batteries replaced. What will happen to those batteries, where will they go?” asked Sunil Vachani, chairman of Dixon Technologies, whose phone assemblies roll out a million phones a month for brands like Japan’s Panasonic and China’s Gionee. “I am against any change in policy with regard to import of used phones.”

Apple has recently disclosed the steps taken for recycling products. The company says it typically manages to collect and recycle 85% (by weight) of devices produced seven years earlier.


  • ncsen

    Seems like false pretexts masking their own agenda. Where’s the logic in: “The millions of imported used phones will need their batteries replaced.
    What will happen to those batteries, where will they go?”, vs manufacturing NEW phones that require NEW batteries and all new components, which invariably will end up in landfills (arguably sooner than these refurbished phones!)

    If you’re going to use altruistic pretexts, at least don’t make it come from a hypocritical source.

  • mikeT

    Why not just sell new iPhones to Indians at low prices. To make sure these iPhones are not exported out of India, make them work only in India (via GPS tracking, etc). Samsung is always worried about Apple. Who is stopping them from selling their used Samsung crap phones in India?

  • raslucas

    There’s also a theory that iPhones actually last longer than cheaper other phones, meaning people will hold onto them longer, and not throw them away….

    I do think this would be an interesting opportunity for India to try to get some of Apple’s manufacturing done there, which would be good for them. Not sure they really have much leverage over Apple. Selling used phones in kind of small peanuts compared to manufacturing and the costs of new phones.

    I think Apple wants to get iPhones into the hands of as many people as possible, so that they upgrade their phones to iPhones since they bought into the ecosystem. ¯_(?)_/¯