Consumers in Argentina will finally be able to buy iPhones from retailers as of next month. Up until now the only option has been to buy the phone from online market places like Mercado Libre or purchase the devices abroad.
Several big electronic chains such as Fravega and Garbarino have already announced that they will stock the Apple item, as Apple itself will not set up a store in Argentina until at least 2018. Claro has already started advertising the phone, while Movistar and Personal have also confirmed the iPhone’s arrival.
However, the news may not make have a massive impact on the running price for the popular mobile device in Argentina. According to La Nación the retail price of the phone will be close to what the import fees cost, so between 25 to 30 000 pesos for the latest iPhone 7 plus. The Kirchner administration previously put in place strict legislation to try and protect local jobs and curb Argentina’s increasing import tab by having many products, especially cellphones, required to be assembled in Tierra del Fuego, Southern Patagonia (despite the fact that practically all of the parts were still imported). Most companies, including Motorola and Samsung, adapted to the new conditions, but not Apple, which designs all of its products in Cupertino, California, before they are sent to be manufactured in China was not eligible for official sale in Argentina. Despite campaign rhetoric, the Macri administration has not loosened the protectionist policies it inherited from the Kirchner administrations as much as some consumers were hoping. The iPhone which will soon be available in stores will be still be subject to importation fees and will not have as competitive a price as the smartphones assembled in Tierra del Fuego have; a Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge costs between 15 and 20 000 pesos, for example.
However, the awaited arrival of an official Apple store is due to happen in 2018, which could help to cheapen the price of the cellphone. At the moment, the companies that advertise the iPhone have an international warranty. This affects the price consumers pay and means that the companies who buy the shipments of iPhones end up paying more.
The price of buying iPhones in-store in Argentina will almost certainly end up being more expensive than if you bought it online from a person selling the phone privately. For those living far from more consumer friendly prices in Chile and not having plans to go to the States anytime soon, the news comes as a welcome update to consumer options.