LTE Apple Watch Series 3 now available in India without monthly wireless fee [u]

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Seven months after GPS-only versions of Apple Watch Series 3 went up for sale in India, customers in the country can now buy LTE-capable models of the wearable through two major wireless carriers.

Airtel and Reliance Jio began Apple Watch Series 3 + Cellular sales on Friday local time, but unlike previous launches in the U.S. and beyond, the Indian telcos are offering customers free integration with existing postpaid plans. That means users can share their handset's wireless number, voice and data plan with Apple's smartwatch for no extra fee.

Apple updated its regional Apple Watch webpage to reflect the change in availability, highlighting marquee cellular capabilities including voice calling and texts, music streaming, Siri connectivity, standalone notifications and more.

As the company does not yet operate its own retail channel in India, sales of Apple Watch and other products are handled by local partners. Along with the usual assortment of authorized Apple retailers, both Airtel and Jio are selling Watch online and at their respective brick-and-mortar stores.

While customers in India save on wireless fees, which run about $10 per month in most countries, Apple Watch Series 3 + Cellular base prices start at an exorbitant 39,080 rupees ($580) for 38mm aluminum variants including Apple Watch Nike+. Identical models sell for $329 in the U.S. Larger 42mm aluminum models come in at 41,120 rupees, while the ceramic Edition sells for 1,22,090 rupees.

Whether stainless steel models will be widely available is unclear, as Airtel, Jio and reseller Aptronix currently lack listings for the specification. Another large chain, Imagine, provides an option to preorder stainless steel variants on its website, but fails to disclose pricing.

Though not a launch country, India was among a second batch of regions to gain access to GPS enabled Watch versions last October. Apple typically staggers device rollouts, with major markets like the U.S. and China getting first crack at new products. Regulatory approval, carrier support and other behind-the-scenes factors also play roles in product launch timing.

LTE Apple Watch Series 3 sales also kicked off in Denmark, Sweden and Taiwan on Friday.

Apple Watch continues to gain marketshare as competing devices fall off the map. During Apple's most recent earnings conference call, CEO Tim Cook said the firm's wearables business, which includes Apple Watch, Beats headphones, and AirPods, grew nearly 50 percent year-over-year, with revenues equivalent to a Fortune 300 company.

Update: Additional country availability added.