India handset manufacturer partners telco to drive data growth

Summary:Micromax inks strategic partnership with Aircel to drive data growth in India, which the telco believes will showcase the benefits of 3G to smartphone buyers and drive adoption.

Micromax, India's leading handset manufacturer, has entered into a strategic partnership with Aircel to drive data growth in the country. Under the new agreement, both companies will share their channel and retail networks, sales resources, and run an integrated device sales activation program.

From left to right: Aircel CMO Anupam Vasudev, Micromax co-founder Vikas Jain, Micromax's vice president of marketing Sunil Kuttam

With the alliance, Micromax introduced Reverse Bundling handset offers worth 12,000 rupee (US$200) per month for every new customer of Aircel. The operator has positioned itself as a data-led telecom player and aimed to make 3G affordable to the masses by launching its Pocket Internet Smart service, offering unlimited 3G data at affordable prices. 

According to industry numbers, by 2020, mobile internet users are set to grow four to five times while smartphone penetration is set to increase five times to 50 percent in India. Increasing demand of smartphones imply a large data-ready user base since voice calls and messaging account for only 18 percent of mobile usage. The remaining 88 percent is for internet, apps, and media.

With a large portfolio of mid-range smartphones, Micromax has been gaining market share in India, especially among first-time smartphone buyers and mid-income professionals. Aircel believes the product bundling will showcase the benefits of 3G to smartphone buyers and drive adoption.

Speaking at the launch, Aircel CMO Anupam Vasudev said: "India is at the cusp of a data revolution and device tie-ups will strengthen the telecom ecosystem in the country, which is critical to drive data penetration. Affordability in devices will give a rise to data proliferation, which will be the main revenue generator for both telecom operators as well as handset manufacturers in the near future."

As part of the offer, all Micromax smartphones would offer 2GB data service package per month for three months, 10,000 rupees worth of WAP content free for three months, and Popcorn TV (internet TV) application free for three months, apart from discounted calling rates.

The offers also extend to feature phones and dongles. Phone packages will get 1GB data service per month for three months and 10,000 rupees worth of WAP content free for three months, while data cards will get 500MB data per month for three months.

Vikas Jain, co-founder of Micromax, describes the product bundling as "democratizing technologies for masses". Established in 2008, the company had become one of India's largest domestic mobile handsets company by 2010. It currently holds 22 percent market share in the Indian smartphone market, according to an IDC second-quarter report.

Topics: Telcos, India, Smartphones


Abhishek Baxi is an independent digital consultant and a freelance technology columnist based in India. He writes on consumer technology and trends for several leading print and online publications.

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