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RCom Inks Two Year Partnership With Google To Promote Android Phones; Who Benefits?

Reliance Communications has inked an exclusively partnership with to Google promote Android handsets in India. Under the two year partnership, R-COM will create exclusive data plans and services specifically targeted to promote Android devices on its network. In a statement, R-COM has also said that it also plans to introduce expert customer care, operator billing, exclusive apps and content in addition to the dedicated Android experience zones at Reliance retail outlets across the country. R-COM will also pump in money in ad campaigns to promote Android phones.

The company has announced has announced a free 3G data plan offering 1GB of data transfer to all new & existing customers who buy a new Google endorsed Android device, in Reliance 3G circles and during the period of 15th April, 2012 to 15th June, 2012 for both pre-paid and post-paid customers. The 1GB data needs to be utilized within 30 days for pre pay customers and 1-month for post pay customers.

Beyond that usage or validity period, users need to subscribe for an additional 3G data plan. The offer is valid only Google endorsed Android handsets, and although R-Com’s website says that a list of handsets is available on its site, we were not able to locate it. Currently, RCom’s website offers 3G enabled Android handsets from LG — LG Optimus 3D P920, LG Optimus 2X, LG Optimus Black,  LG Plum, and LG Optimus Me, and Sony Ericsson- Walkman W8. Google has previously tied up with international carriers like Verizon in the US, Telstra in Australia and in Japan in a similar deal.

Who benefits?:  Interestingly, RCom was also the only telco to offer operator billing on Nokia’s app store. In addition to that, it had also tied up with Nokia to offer Ovi Life Tools, Ovi Music, and promote mobile Internet packages across Nokia GPRS phones. With a subscriber base of 99.39 million out of which 65% are active, R-Com is clearly trying to put it’s best foot forward to lure new subscribers, specially focusing on smartphone owners, with exclusive deals. Google’s Android has gained a good foothold in the Indian market with handsets priced across various segments, and free apps. It’s more likely that R-Com is the one seeking to benefit from this tie-up. We’d be disappointed if operator billing is rolled out only with a selected operator, similar to Nokia.

With Inputs from Anupam Saxena


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