Jakarta. The iPhone 7, Apple's flagship smartphone, will be available in Indonesia by the end of this month after the whole iPhone lineup went missing from Southeast Asia's largest smartphone market for more than a year.
Antaranews.com reported that starting March 31, the iPhone 7 will be available in 47 outlets of iBox stores, a chain of stores selling Apple products owned by Erajaya Swasembada, a Jakarta-listed handset manufacturer, distributor and retail provider and 223 outlets of Erafone, mobile phone and mobile phone accesories retailer owned by Erajaya.
Customers, however, can start placing orders for the phone by March 24, the agency reported, citing a statement from Erajaya dated Friday (17/03).
Erajaya plans to launch iPhone 7 at iBox in Central Park, West Jakarta, iBox at Kelapa Gading mall, East Jakarta, iBox at Kota Kasablanka mall in South Jakarta, iBox at Roxy Mas at West Java, Erafone at Bandung Electronic Center mall in West Java and Erafone at Sun Plaza in Medan, North Sumatera.
Local mobile phone operators purchase offers for iPhone 7 that is bundled with its network service and pre-order will start on March 24.
Telekomunikasi Selular, or Telkomsel, Indonesia's largest mobile phone operator, currently does not have a plan to release the iPhone 7, according to Adita Irawati, vice president for public relations at Telkomsel.
Apple has not been able to sell the previous iterations of its iconic iPhone — the iPhone 6s, iPhone 6s Plus and iPhone SE — in Indonesia since January last year after the government imposed a rule requiring all makers of 4G smartphones to establish local manufacturing or research facilities.
Apple finally agreed to build research and development facilities in three cities in Indonesia early this year, paving the way for its return to the Indonesian market.
Rival Samsung remains the dominating force in the market — despite being hit hard by its Galaxy Note 7 exploding-phone recall — with Chinese manufacturer Oppo coming close behind. They and other rivals like Xiaomi, LG and local smartphone maker Evercoss had already set up their 4G manufacturing facilities in Indonesia in 2015.
The article was first published on Saturday (18/03) at 4.57 p.m.