AirtelSingTel Group, which owns 32% stake in Bharti Airtel, has tied-up with Samsung to launch several joint initiatives including selling phones with data bundles and app promotions among others. These will be rolled out by Airtel in India and Singtel entities like Optus in Australia, Globe Telecom in Philippines, Citycell in Bangladesh and Telkomsel in Indonesia, among others.

As per this partnership, Singtel claims Samsung will get a reach of half a billion Singtel customers while it will be able to offer Samsung devices at much more competitive rates. This also includes:

– Airtel will offer Samsung phones with data bundles

Samsung and Singtel are calling it a ‘Retail collaboration programme’, but it sounds like a data bundling system. As part of the agreement, Samsung will be offering mid-range and high-end phones at select SingTel Group’s regional mobile associates and its own stores. This initiative is now available to customers of Globe Telecom (Philippines) and will be progressively made available to customers of Airtel and Telkomsel (Indonesia).

Airtel is currently running a pre-order for the device on its website. You can Rs 1,500 to book the device and get a coupon (for what?) worth the same amount when the device is sold by Airtel next week. Airtel is also offering 1GB of 3G data free for the first six months myPlan 399 and above (2G data in non-3G circles). It is also offering 2GB of 3G data free per month for two months to prepaid customers.

As far as EMIs are concerned, the company could offer the same for people with credit cards like it was done when iPhone 5s launched in India. Reliance had launched such a scheme when it launched iPhone 5s in India and had later extended it to Lumia and HTC devices.

– Carrier billing for Samsung apps

SingTel (Singapore) is the first in South East Asia to offer direct carrier billing for Samsung Apps to its postpaid customers. This initiative will be progressively rolled out to AIS (Thailand), Globe Telecom (Philippines) and Telkomsel (Indonesia). Do note that Samsung already has a similar deal with Airtel in India in 2011, but it is not clear if this partnership is still on.

It is not clear if this deal extends to apps that are sold via Samsung’s app store. If yes, it might encourage more developers to submit their apps to the mobile handset giant.

– Promote apps by local startups 

Members of the SingTel Group and Samsung will launch a mobile app development sponsorship programme, that will identify innovative start-ups in the region and promote them. This partnership is applicable to SingTel (Singapore), Optus (Australia), AIS (Thailand), Globe Telecom (Philippines), and Telkomsel (Indonesia). Airtel is not mentioned in this list and it is not clear why it has chosen not to be participate.

– Pre-loading of apps

Localised apps will be pre-loaded on Samsung Galaxy S5 and will be available to customers of AIS (Thailand), Globe Telecom (Philippines), and Telkomsel (Indonesia). The service might be extended to other Samsung devices in the future. Great idea, as long as people have the option to remove them if they don’t want it. The last thing we want in Samsung devices is more bloatware aka S-spam. It’s not clear if Airtel will also pre-load such localised apps.