NEW DELHI - Reliance Industries is offering to buy back from customers of its Jio telecoms unit Apple Inc's latest iPhone models after a year's usage for 70 percent of their price, a move that may boost Jio's data sales and help the U.S. firm expand in India.
Cupertino, California-based Apple is keen to sell more iPhones in India, one of the world's biggest smartphone markets, as growth flags in its home market and China, but the high cost of its handsets has kept the aspirational smartphone out of the reach of hundreds of millions of Indians.
At an event on Friday to showcase Jio's launch of Apple's latest iPhones in India, Akash Ambani, the son of India's richest man and Reliance chairman Mukesh Ambani, said the buyback offer would be available on all three latest models - the iPhone 8, 8 Plus and iPhone X.
The offer will be available to Jio customers who buy the iPhone and subscribe to its 799 rupees ($12.22) monthly package for 12 months.
This is the first time an Indian telecoms operator is offering such a hefty cashback.
The move could help boost Apple's market share in India from a meagre 3 percent, while Reliance Jio could win the loyalties of high-spending Apple fans.
Apple is in talks with New Delhi to make its phones in India and earlier this year started assembling its low-cost SE model in the country.
Reliance is already eyeing roughly 500 million customers who use basic, low-cost phones through its $23 4G phone that blurs the line between a smartphone and a traditional feature phone.
The company, which has disrupted India's price-sensitive telecoms market, is eyeing between 250-300 million customers in the next two years, a source told Reuters previously.