Fans of the iPhone in Argentina may have to wait at least a year to officially purchase the Apple device, as the government continues to impose restrictions on imports of the world’s bestselling smartphone.
The Wall Street Journal reports that whilst the iPhone isn’t banned in the country, its restrictions on mobile operators extend to devices that are not in manufactured there. With Apple’s main supply partners located in Asia (for now), it doesn’t fulfill that criteria and therefore sales are restricted in the country.
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According to the report, Apple only sold 3,000 iPhones in Argentina before government restrictions were put in place in March 2011, selling 30,000 in 2010. Whilst the device doesn’t appear to have been as successful in Argentina as in North America and parts of Europe, consumers are still purchasing Apple smartphones when they travel abroad or turn to auction or private trade websites to buy an unlocked handset from overseas.
In December, we questioned whether Argentina had actually banned the device, after reports suggested this was the case. While the ban and other details were false, imports of the iPhone were — and continue to be — blocked.
Apple lists three carriers on its website, two of which have iPhone references (one has listings for various models) but no way to buy them. The Movistar forum even has a dedicated iPhone section, which is full of customers that have purchased iPhones overseas or second-hand but have issues using them on the operator’s networks.
On the Argentinean section of its official website, Apple suggests buying an iPhone 4S from neighbouring Latin American countries:
The ban is in place to encourage Argentinean consumers to buy locally produced or manufactured products and devices, with President Cristina Kirchner advocating the system to create jobs and lower the amount of money spent on overseas imports.
It is believed that the iPhone situation might change when Apple iPhone and iPad supplier Foxconn starts mass-producing the devices in Brazil but even then, they won’t be manufactured within Argentina.