According to The Wall Street Journal, the Mac maker is in discussion with two Indian telecommunications carriers to bring the iPhone to the subcontinent. Interestingly, both candidates -- Reliance Communications and Tata Teleservices -- use the same CDMA technology for their networks that Verizon (NYSE: VZ ) uses.
And that's important. On Friday, The New York Times broke the news that Apple plans an iPhone 4 for Verizon's network early next year.
Don't cash that reality check yet
So how big is this news for India? Probably not as big as bullish investors would like to believe, though shares of Apple are outperforming the market this week as news leaks about Apple's iPhone expansion in various geographies.
"There is a segment of users in India who will love an iPhone, but [that group] is very small and mass adoption is very far away," says my Foolish colleague Tim Hanson, co-advisor for Motley Fool Global Gains. I think he's right.
For all the talk of there being more than 600 million mobile users in India, most of those handsets aren't smartphones. They're low-cost feature phones from Samsung and Nokia (NYSE: NOK ) , the long-leading mobile supplier on the subcontinent.
What's more, smartphones account for less than 1% of mobile devices sold in India, and Nokia supplies 71% of that total, the Journal reports.
A wireless infrastructure build-out funded by local and foreign tower operators such as American Tower (NYSE: AMT ) will help get the Indian wireless grid ready to handle the iPhone and other invading smartphones. But that, too, will take time.
The other "A" stock in India
Meanwhile, Tim and Global Gains co-advisor Nathan Parmelee are looking for stock ideas among companies addressing India's most basic needs: food, water, roads, and electricity.
Stocks such as ABB (NYSE: ABB ) , a Swiss power specialist that Tim says just bought out its Indian subsidiary. "[The company] is betting big on electrical grid expansion, which is a precursor to widespread mobile or Internet adoption," Tim says.
ABB also paid a 2.2% dividend yield as of the time of publication.
As heartened as I am to see Apple exploring the subcontinent and widening its embrace of technology standards, there are better reasons to invest in the stock. Principally: because it's still cheap relative to the company's growth opportunity.
Now it's your turn to weigh in. Will the iPhone succeed on the subcontinent? Share your thoughts in the comments box below, and if you're interested in Apple, click here to add it to your Foolish watchlist.