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Monday, January 13, 2014, 10:06 pm PT (01:06 am ET)

Rumor: Apple to reintroduce 8GB iPhone 4 to curb flagging India sales

With the smartphone race heating up in emerging markets keen on low-priced handsets, Apple is supposedly poised to resurrect the 8GB iPhone 4 exclusively for Indian buyers.

India


Citing unnamed sources at four of Apple's top trade partners in the region, The Economic Times reports the company will soon start sales of the 8GB iPhone 4 in its push for marketshare.

The publication further claims the India-only iPhone 4 will be priced at roughly 15,000 rupees, or $243, after factoring in buybacks and equated monthly installment (EMI) plans. This would represent a savings of 11,500 rupees, or $187, compared to the unit's original retail price from three years ago.

One issue with the rumored move is iPhone 4 supply. With the introduction of the iPhone 5s and 5c in September, Apple halted iPhone 4 production and moved the 4S into the legacy handset's entry-level sales slot. According to sources, the company may seek iPhone 4 handsets from unsold inventory around the world, though such a move would be a huge logistical undertaking.

The idea of offering low-cost solutions to get iPhones into the hands of Indian customers is not new, however. Apple and rival smartphone manufacturer Samsung locked horns in a price war last year that saw both companies hand out deep discounts to woo potential buyers.

A key Apple strategy has been EMI schemes that dull the brunt of per-handset cost by spreading payments out over multiple months. In early 2013, market research firm IDC found iPhone sales rose 400 percent over a three-month period following the institution of such plans.

No official word has been given on the rumored iPhone 4 reintroduction, but one source claims Apple's main Indian distributors, Redington and Ingram Micro, could start sales as early as next week.