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

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags Bharti AirteltelephonyReliance Communicationstelecommunicationhardware systemstablets

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

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

John Ribeiro

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?