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Can Xiaomi’s sub-$200 RedMi Note 4G improve 4G adoption in India?

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In a move that would hopefully increase 4G adoption in the country, Chinese smartphone manufacturer Xiaomi has launched a 4G version of its low-cost phablet RedMi Note along with the regular 3G variant.

The phone is priced at Rs 9,999 and will be available via Flipkart from December-end. Interestingly, these phones will also be available offline, with Airtel offering the 4G variant through its 100 flagship stores. Xiaomi however notes that buyers will have to register online before picking up the device from these stores.

The company notes that the 4G variant will support both 2300MHz and 1800MHz bands and is essentially a variant of RedMi Note 4G which was launched by Xiaomi in August this year.

At the time, Xiaomi vice president of international Hugo Barra had mentioned that the device was built for China’s TD-LTE network and they are currently planning to launch a model that works across both TD-LTE and FD-LTE networks by the end of this year.

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Besides 4G support, the phone features a 5.5-inch display powered by a quad-core Snapdragon processor. It will run on Android 4.4 KitKat and will feature a 3100 mAh battery with support for Bluetooth 4.0 and dual-band WiFi networks

Why this is important? Medianama readers might recall that Airtel India CEO Gopal Vittal had earlier blamed the niche status of 4G services in India to the lack of a 4G device ecosystem that supports TD-LTE network, which according to him is not as developed as 3G networks.

Select phones which support this band are also primarily high-end devices like the iPhone, LG G2 & LG G3 among others. Due to this, Airtel had launched 4G dongles and adopted a hotspot strategy in the country. It had also stated plans of using the 1800MHz spectrum acquired in the February 2014 2G auctions, to roll out 4G networks using FD-LTE technology in the 1800 MHz band for a pan-India 4G rollout.

With this launch, Xiaomi is significantly bringing down the cost of access for a 4G device, making it available for regular consumers. This could also possibly pave the way for similar handset offerings from other handset makers like Micromax and Karbonn which could lead to a mass adoption of 4G services in the country.

RedMi 1S to be discontinued in India: What’s disappointing though is that Xiaomi is apparently discontinuing the sales of RedMi 1S in India next month, possibly to focus on sales of RedMi Note.

Note that Xiaomi had also discontinued its flagship smartphone Mi3 in India to focus on RedMi 1S sales in August this year.

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