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RIL To Partner Samsung To Offer Low Cost 4G Smartphones: Report

While RIL has still not rolled out its 4G services, almost three years after it acquired pan-India 4G spectrum, the company is in the process of inking strategic ties: RIL (which we’ve heard will operate under the Jio brand) has apparently inked a tie-up with Samsung to make use of Samsung’s LTE technology for its 4G service in India, reports The Economic Times.

What’s particularly interesting is that the report cites sources which inform that Samsung will offer 4G-compatible entry-level smartphones for around $100 (Approx Rs 5,500) as part of this deal and these smartphones will be bundled with RIL’s 4G data plans starting at Rs 100. However, there is currently no specific information on these devices and both RIL and Samsung have apparently declined to comment on this deal to the publication. This data pricing doesn’t indicate much data will be on offer from RIL for Rs 100, but we’re reminded of another source based reported by the Economic Times in 2011, where it put the pricing at Rs 10 per gb. Remember that RIL had also previously stated plans to make self-branded handsets for its 4G rollout and Samsung was one of RIL’s handset partners when it was in the voice business until 2005.

While playing the price card is particularly not new for RIL, it would be interesting to see if RIL gets the same traction for its handsets as it had received earlier, when it was offered handsets for as low as Rs 500. It would also be interesting to see if any other telco ties up with low cost handset makers like Micromax and Karbonn to offer similar handsets. Ultimately, we believe this approach will be beneficial for consumers, since it will offer higher data speeds at lower costs, thereby bring the cost of access down in the country, but what exactly RIL will do is not known – maybe we should put together a liveblog on the RIL launch speculation.

A few recent developments related to Jio’s launch:

Feb 22, 2013: An RIL group firm Reliance Payment Services was apparently one among the companies shortlisted by public sector banks to manage and deploy at least 2 million Point-of-sale (POS) debit and credit card swipe machines across merchants in smaller towns over the next two years.

Feb 7, 2013: Reliance Jio Infocomm (Previously Reliance Infotel) is planning to launch a multi-screen video ad network.

December 21, 2012: Reliance Industries was all set to receive Department of Telecommunication (DoT)’s approval to test voice services on its 4G networks. In Feb 19, the Telecom Commission had approved a recommendation which allowed the Broadband Wireless Access (BWA) spectrum holders.

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