Mobiles & Tablets

Datawind’s Rs 2,000 phone launch in a few weeks

K V Kurmanath Hyderabad | Updated on November 22, 2014

‘Pocket Surfer’ Android phone comes with 1 year of free Internet, ‘not life time’

If the domestic manufacturers have disrupted the mid-level segment of mobile phone market, Datawind, the Canadian tablet firm, is likely to disrupt the segment at the lower end. The Canadian tablet maker will soon come out with its Rs 2,000 phone with free Internet for a year. The company readied inventories of this phone as it gears up its launch in the next few weeks.

The company is in “an advanced stage” of finalising the deals with telecom service providers to offer affordable data plans.

“Datawind will buy this data and offer it to the subscribers in order to make them consume data. We will take the burden for a year,” Suneet Singh Tuli, Chief Executive Officer of Datawind, told Business Line.

Branded Pocket Surfer, the phone is targeting those who are using basic phones and those having smart phones but choose not to take a data plan. “We have been telling the operators, the importance of reaching out to more people and get them on board to use Internet on their phones. The average contribution of data in the operators is far less.

The country sells 65 million phones, including 15 million smart phones, every quarter. But only 5 million subscribers are using the Internet. “The rest of them having a smart phone choose not to have Internet for different reasons. Affordability and awareness levels are the major reasons,” he said.

“The ARPU (average revenue per user) is about Rs 120 in India a month, while data tariff is put at Rs 300. This shows the importance of reducing the data tariff. We are asking them to introduce Rs 15-Rs 25 data plans so that more and more people use data. In the long run it will help,” he said.

Suneet Singh was here on Saturday to address the CII’s Yi (Young Indians) conference.

He cited the example of plummeting ARPUs in the US before the introduction of iPhone by Apple. “The ARPU had come down to $38 a month in 2007 from $55 a month in 1995. But the introduction of iPhone had changed it all and the ARPU went up to $50,” he pointed out.

Manufacturing facility

Datawind is planning to set up a manufacturing facility in Central India, using the proceeds from the IPO it made in Canada. “We are talking to a few States. We will be finalising the location soon,” he said.

Published on November 22, 2014

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