Apple will reportedly begin widespread iPhone sales in Argentina again next month, following a years-long hiatus prompted by past political policies and Apple declining to open a local factory.
Rules established in 2009 under the country’s previous President, Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, tried to get companies like Apple to assemble products locally, according to Bloomberg. While rivals like Samsung did set up shop, Apple never arranged for assembly partners like Foxconn or Pegatron to step in.
The current government lead by President Mauricio Macri has largely removed any regulatory obstacles. Carriers Telefonica, America Movil, and Telecom Argentina will have to pay import taxes however, likely inflating prices by 25 percent or more over phones assembled domestically.
A Bloomberg source indicated that the carriers are nevertheless starting sales next month, hoping to attract richer shoppers who won’t care about a high pricetag. A number of local resellers should also join in sales, and in some cases may already be accepting reservations —one example being Maxim Store in Buenos Aires, which is planning to offer five models on Apr. 7.
Maxim’s owner, Hector Goldin, suggested that because of combined taxes, prices could actually be double those in the U.S. and 40 percent more than in nearby Chile. There will be an advantage to buying in Argentina though, namely better support.
Many Argentinians already have iPhones, but only through importers, or else personal trips abroad.
In the past year at least Apple has become more willing to oblige regulations calling for local investment. Indonesian iPhone sales are set to resume on Friday, for instance, following Apple plans to establish R&D centers in Jakarta. Indian iPhone manufacturing should start within the next two months, not only bringing local prices down but paving the way for the country’s first Apple stores.