Idea Cellular has become the fourth telecom operator after Bharti, Vodafone and Reliance Communications to venture into the mobile handset space with the launch of two 3G smartphones.
At a price point starting at Rs5,850, Idea claimed its phones are the cheapest 3G smartphones available in the country, beating Bharti Airtel’s Beetel Magiq tablet, which comes at Rs9,999 and doubles up as a phone, and RCom’s 3G tablet at Rs12,999.
Targeting Idea customers in urban and semi-urban parts, the company is providing a data-bundling offer for 3G customers who buy the smartphone, which includes Idea TV, although it is not offering voice-bundling or video calling on the handsets.
It is also offering the same 3G data pack offer to Idea 3G customers who do not buy the smartphone as well as Idea 2G customers who want to change to an affordable 3G plan.
As an introductory offer, Idea is offering data services worth `3,500, with `259 pack, along with the new 3G smartphones. Hence, for the smartphone priced at `5,850, Idea 3G user gets it for a value of Rs2,609.
Idea has partnered with two handset vendors — Huawei and Zte — to launch Blade - a 3.5’’ screen smartphone and ID 280 - a 2.8’’ screen smartphone, priced `7,992 and `5,850, respectively.
Both smartphones operate on the Android 2.2 OS and come with Opera Mini browser 6 as well as other features that include 30 pre-loaded apps.
Himanshu Kapania, MD, Idea Cellular said, “While smartphones makes up less than 10% of the Indian handset market currently, Idea plans to reverse this trend while at the same time increase the popularity of 3G services. We are not looking at the smartphones as a revenue stream, and neither are we looking to wholly enter the handset space or compete with other service providers.” The main aim for this launch and other subsequent launches is 3G reaching the masses and becoming profitable and relevant, he said.