Indian mobile operators turn to low-cost Android tablets

The operators expect low-cost tablets to drive demand for data plans

India's largest mobile operator, Bharti Airtel, and second largest, Reliance Communications, are bundling Android tablets priced at between US$220 and $285 with their mobile services, in a bid to increase use of their data plans.

The low-cost devices will help these companies sign up subscribers for data plans, as the cost of the data device was a key obstacle until now, said Kamlesh Bhatia, a principal research analyst at Gartner. Other operators will certainly follow with similar offerings, he added.

India had 852 million mobile subscribers at the end of June, according to the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India.

At the price at which the devices are being offered, they will certainly appeal to middle-class and even lower middle-class consumers, Bhatia said. It is however difficult to estimate how many of the customers of these operators will buy tablets, he added.

Beetel Teletech, a Bharti Enterprises group company, on Wednesday launched a 7-inch tablet priced at 9,999 rupees ($220). A company spokesman said the device will be bundled with a data plan from group company, Bharti Airtel. The tablet will be marketed by Beetel, which is the telecom products arm of the group.

Bharti Airtel did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The Beetel tablet, called the Beetel Magiq, supports 3G and Wi-Fi, and also voice calls. It comes with 8GB memory, which is expandable to 16GB, and runs Android 2.2 on an unidentified 1 GHz processor. It will also be sold through other service providers, the spokesman said.

Beetel is having the product manufactured in an undisclosed location abroad to take advantage of economies of scale. The product was designed by Beetel in tandem with Huawei Technologies.

Reliance's 7-inch Android tablet supports both 3G and Wi-Fi, and is priced at 13,000 rupees. The operator is bundling the device with its 3G data plans.

The Android tablets from Reliance and Beetel will compete with netbooks at the low-end and the more expensive tablets like the iPad from Apple at the high end, Bhatia said.

John Ribeiro covers outsourcing and general technology breaking news from India for The IDG News Service. Follow John on Twitter at @Johnribeiro. John's e-mail address is john_ribeiro@idg.com

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

John Ribeiro

IDG News Service
Topics: telephony, Bharti Airtel, Reliance Communications, telecommunication, hardware systems, tablets
Comments are now closed.

Latest News Articles

Most Popular Articles

Follow Us

GGG Evaluation Team

Kathy Cassidy

STYLISTIC Q702

First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni

STYLISTIC Q572

For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Steph Mundell

LIFEBOOK UH574

The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.

Andrew Mitsi

STYLISTIC Q702

The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.

Simon Harriott

STYLISTIC Q702

My first impression after unboxing the Q702 is that it is a nice looking unit. Styling is somewhat minimalist but very effective. The tablet part, once detached, has a nice weight, and no buttons or switches are located in awkward or intrusive positions.

Resources

Best Deals on GoodGearGuide

Compare & Save

Deals powered by WhistleOut
WhistleOut

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?