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Datawind to launch free internet bundled 4G smartphones


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Datawind is all set to launch its 4G smartphone range in India, starting at a price tag of Rs 3,000 by next month, according to this PTI report. The company plans to roll out devices with a low-cost price range of Rs 3,000 to Rs 5,000 and will come bundled with 1 year free Internet browsing. The devices will have 1 GB/2 GB/3 GB of RAM with internal memory of 8 GB, 16 GB and 32 GB.

Note that in March last year, the company unveiled low-cost 3G smartphones starting at Rs 3,000 bundled with free internet plans. The company first entered the smartphone market in December 2013 with 3 smartphones starting from Rs 3,499.

Sources close to the company confirmed the 4G phone launch plans with MediaNama. The company will be providing data services via the MVNO route although the person said that the company plans to launch this by Diwali. Datawind was one of the 70 companies that sent in an application with DoT for an MVNO license; note that sources close to DoT told MediaNama that MVNOs are now allowed to take data services from multiple operator’s instead of just one operator. More here.

Devices and earlier tie-ups

The company already has a range of low-cost smartphones and tablets; it also offered free internet packs through tie-ups with telcos like Reliance Communications. Datawind manufacturers its own devices locally through its manufacturing plants in Hyderabad and Amritsar.

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It’s worth noting that last year Datawind had tied-up with mobile devices retail store UniverCell and BSNL to offer its UbiSlate 7Cz and UbiSlate 3G7 tablets with 12 months of unlimited free internet. Users had to use the UbiSurfer browser to avail the unlimited free internet offer. In case a different browser was used the data usage limit was 250MB per month.

Competition

In the tablet arena, Datawind remained the top shipper of tablets with a 27.5% market share during Q2 2016, according to IDC. Its market share grew significantly from 20.7% as of Q4 2015. With its entry into the 4G smartphone market bundled with free Internet services, it might look to take on Reliance Jio which unveiled low-cost LYF smartphones that offers 4G smartphones starting at Rs 2,999 along with bundled free data packs.

Jio’s LYF smartphones already accounts for 6.8% of devices shipped during Q2 2016, according to IDC estimates. Earlier LYF devices overtook Lava as the fifth largest smartphone vendor in Q1 2016 along with a 7% market share. And in the 4G smartphone market, LYF devices holds a 13% market share among shipments in India during Q1 FY16.

Datawind’s entry into the 4G smartphone market might further pose a competition to other local manufactures like Micromax, and Intex, as well as Chinese makers like Huwaei, LeEco and Gionee.

Datawind IPO: Datawind raised Canadian $30 million or around $27.86 million from its initial public offering (IPO) on the Toronto Stock Exchange in July 2014. The company had issued 6.32 million common shares (6,316,000 common shares) at a price of C$4.75 per share. It wasn’t an assured debut, as the Datawind share price closed at C$4.38 on the day of debut, down 7.8% from the issue price.

Image Credits: YouTube user junaid qureshi under CC BY 3.0

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