In a move that pities it against established players including South Korean giant Samsung and domestic Lava, Karbonn and Micromax, Canadian tablet and phone maker Datawind is all set to launch Android-based 3G smartphones in India for Rs 2000-3000, and bundle it with one year of free internet. The company has entered into an agreement with a leading telecom service provider.
The India mobile handsets market grew 4% to 257 million in 2014, of which smartphones accounted for 77 million, according to research firm CMR’s “India Monthly Mobile Handsets Market Review”.
In line with the government’s ‘Make in India’ initiative, Datawind will also invest Rs 100-150 crore to manufacture smartphones in India. The components will be sourced locally, and the company is in final stages of discussion to set up the plant near Delhi NCR.
“India’s 3G smartphone market offers huge opportunity in price and product offerings. Our smartphones will prove handset price cannot be a hindrance in achieving digital India objectives,” DataWind CEO Suneet Singh Tulli told HT.
The company is looking to set up a fully-functional manufacturing unit within 90 days of receiving all approvals, and also bring down the cost of 3G phones on par with feature phones. It is looking to increase the number of its retail outlets and service centres in the country to 3,600 by March next year from the current 3,000.
“Digital infrastructure is expected to play a major role in the success of the ‘Make in India’ initiative,” said KK Raman, partner, KPMG in India.