Mobiles & Tablets

Datawind’s low-cost smartphones to come with free Internet for a year

| Updated on: Mar 16, 2015

Low-cost device maker Datawind has teamed up with Reliance Communications to launch two smartphones priced between ₹2,000 and ₹3,000 with one year of free access to basic Internet services.

Though the offer does not include access to streaming video or audio, users can browse any website, access photos, and other popular sites such as Facebook, Google Maps and Wikipedia. Datawind will pay RCom for the data consumed by the users.

Speaking to BusinessLine , Suneet Singh Tuli, Chief Executive Officer, Datawind, said: “The big issue with the Internet has been that the cost barrier has not been broken. If the consumer has to pay for it, he is not sure about the usage. If he has it for free, he will try. Our model will be a stepping stone at least for basic Internet.”

Global players such as Facebook have been talking of free access to the Internet but want telecom companies to foot part of the bill. Tuli said it was unrealistic to expect telecom operators to remain profitable if they were to give service for free as they make huge investments in acquiring spectrum and rolling out networks. Tuli said that Datawind, on the other hand, is able to bundle free Internet and still make profit through technology innovation.

“We have developed this technology that reduces the bandwidth consumption. If you use a normal Android browser, it uses about 14-15 MB/hour of data consumption. Opera mini is around 6 MB and our devices use 1.5 MB. The reduction is so significant that I can recover it in a ₹2,000 device,” Tuli said.

Eyeing tablets too Datawind, known for Aakash and Ubislate tablets, is also looking to extend the offer to the tablets segment. It had done a pilot with BSNL and is now talking to other telecom companies for a partnership. “Our ultimate goal is not to be just a low-cost device maker but a low-cost data provider. My hope is we can extend the one-year offer and even make it free for lifetime,” said Tuli. The two smartphones will be launched on Tuesday.

The company said that it wants to assemble/manufacture the phones in India to leverage the new duty structure announced in the Union Budget.

Published on January 24, 2018

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