As reported by IBNLive, Airtel will be launching branded smartphones with 4G capabilities soon. These devices will come with a price tag of INR 4000. This strategic move by the company will not only increase the number of subscribers to the company’s widespread network, but it will also give adequate opportunities to the brand to establish an emotional connection with smartphone users in India.
“Airtel is in advanced stages to finalise vendors to launch dual mode 4G handset in the price range of Rs 4,000-12,000. Negotiations are around if it should be only Airtel branded handset or co-branded handsets,” an industry source privy to the development said. In all probabilities, Airtel will be getting the phones manufactured by Chinese vendors who have been known to produce devices with high end features at really affordable prices.
The company has already entered into discussions with some Chinese vendors for arriving at the best deal. It is being reported that Airtel has also entered into talks with Taiwan based Foxconn for developing the 4G smartphones. Not only has Foxconn opened up its mobile manufacturing plant in India, but it is also the manufacturer of the anticipated Upcoming Budget Smartphone, the Nokia C1. As of now, no official statements or confirmations have been received from Airtel or Foxconn about a possible partnership.
Some sources have claimed that the handsets will come with long term bundled plans, just the existing packages for iPhone. However, the devices may not be locked to the Airtel network. This means the devices might be used with other networks if needed. According to the industry source, “It will support both FDD and TDD LTE network. It will not be locked handset but will come with bundled plans which the company feels will glue customers to its network. Expected time line for launch of these handsets is around the upcoming festive season of Diwali, say October-November.”
Airtel has already brought out its 4G services with phase-wise deployment of the services. Kolkata received India’s first 4G service by Airtel 3 years ago. Nagpur, Aurangabad, Bengaluru, Pune, Chandigarh, and Patiala among others have received 4G support since then. Airtel subscribers in Delhi, Hyderabad, Vizag, Madurai, Chennai, Coimbatore and Mumbai have become eligible for 4G trials.
Having been in the news for the wrong reasons, Airtel needs a boost to improve its sales and increase its user base. Back in the days, Airtel was known for its widespread network and customer-oriented features. With controversial developments such as the Airtel Zero Plan that supposedly violates Net Neutrality, the company has garnered a lot of negative publicity. This new move will definitely up a new market for Airtel that will be able to target users in the budget segment.
Do you think that Airtel’s 4G phones priced at Rs. 4000 will work out with the Indian smartphone users? Share your views in the comments section below.
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