Reliance Communications, the Reliance ADAG owned telecom company has partnered with Lenovo to launch Android based GSM-CDMA smartphones in India. The financial details of the partnership have not been disclosed. The Smartphones, according to The Hindu Businessline, will be launched by March 2013, and priced below Rs 8000, and distributed across both 2500 Reliance stores, and 1000 company stores. What’s interesting is that RCom will offer an ‘All Share’ plan, which is a single billing system and a single rental plan that allows three connections to share voice, data and text.
GSM For Calls, CDMA For Data?
The handsets launched by RCom and Lenovo will also benefit from RCom’s discounted 3G data plans for Android. Currently, the 3G data plans offered by telcos in India are anything but affordable. Besides that, recently telcos have also increased the 2G data tariffs by almost 30 percent to cover costs and improve margins.
RCOM has a significant CDMA user base, and underutilized spectrum: It’ll be interesting if users can opt for a single plan across CDMA and GSM, and use CDMA for data, and GSM for calls.
Note that last year RCom had inked a two year partnership with Google to promote Android in India. It offered customized 3G plans for Android handsets. Another telecom operator, Idea, taking a different approach has launched about 4-5 mid level Android handsets in India since last year. Following the partnership with Google, during the Q1 FY13, RCOM had reported that it had seen a significant increase in Android handsets on its networking.
In the quarter ending 30th December 2012 (Q3-FY12), RCom reported that data usage on its network has increased by 29.38% to 22512 terabytes from 17400 terabytes last quarter. Its 3G subscriber base is up 27.08% to 6.1 million from 4.8 million; data usage per customer has increased to 280 mb per connection from 232 mb last quarter, and its data subscriber base is up 6.15% to 28 million, from 26 million. RCom also claims that its 3G customer base is the highest in India. Bear in mind that we’re not sure of whether RCOM classifies its EVDO data card users as 3G users or merely “data users.
Last year, Lenovo had launched five smartphones in India priced between Rs 6,499 to Rs 28,499. Lenovo reported in its quarterly report that it had shipped 9.3 million smartphones globally, up over 100% year on year. Indian OEMs such as Micromax, and International brand such as Samsung already offer dual SIM smart devices in India. Samsung even has GSM-GSM and GSM-CDMA dual SIM handsets in its catalog of smart devices.