In an interview given to Indiatimes, Airtel's IT director Jai Menon claimed that the Airtel version of the iPhone 3G is hacker-proof and even the most talented hackers on the planet won’t be able to crack the iPhone’s Airtel applications with other SIMs.
Airtel claimed that even if a hacker manages to get another provider's SIM card to work with on Airtel iPhone 3G, they would still be locked out of Airtel-specific applications like Airtel Live and mCheck, With no access to Airtel Live they wont be able to access any text, audio, video, static images, music or gaming options available on the preloaded Airtel Live portal.
It's very surprising to see Airtel locking their iPhone's even when Indian customers are paying Rs. 31,000/- (~ US$715) and a fully working unlocked iPhone (non 3G for now) from grey market is easily available under Rs. 24000/-, being a Airtel customer myself, I would suggest Airtel and their tech team to invest more efforts in improving the quality of their service instead of making such non-worthy statements as nobody is going to put efforts in cracking this pricey iPhone just for using Airtel Live.
BTW, I it should be pretty easy to flash the Airtel iPhone OS with original iPhone firmware and get rid of Airtel crap from it.