Datawind Inc has over the years been recognised as a brand that offers technology as the lowest possible prices, an important differentiator in the Indian market. Now, the company wants to do the same in the current 4G wave that has engulfed India.
President and CEO Suneet Singh Tuli suggested told indianexpress.com that Datawind, which already has a 4G tablet in the market at Rs 5,999, will soon launch additional 4G products at incredibly low prices. “We are definitely looking to push the price point of 4G devices to as low as Rs 2,000 to Rs 3000. For DataWind it is important to provide good user experience at low prices,” he said in an email interaction.
Tuli said that while the overall tablet segment witnessed a decline in India, the 4G Tablet market segment grew at over 45 per cent. “With a goal to connect and empower the forgotten billions, we are dedicated to drive 4G implementation in India,” said Tuli. Datawind has been ahead in market share in the tablet category for a few quarters now. It’s latest offering, the Rs 5,999 7-inch 4G marvel tablet, beats other 4G tablets in the market by a 20 per cent margin, Tuli claimed.
However, Tuli, who has seen the Indian data and internet market evolve over the years with the launch of devices like the UbiSurfer as early as 2004, says data pricing and lack of affordable 4G handsets still pose serious hurdles. “While a revolution has started for the top 30 to 40 crore Indians, for the remaining 100 crore, who spend less than Rs 100 on telecom services, we have to figure out how to deliver low-cost internet at about Rs 25 per month,” he elaborated. At present only about 3 per cent Indians have a 4G-enabled handset.
Asked about the scope of 4G feature phones, Tuli said the demand could be as much as 60 million phones this year. “According to CMR, this year, India is expected to add another 139 million smartphones, which can take the potential of 4G subscriber base to 235 million. With 4G Feature phone addition, this potential could cross 285 million mark by the year end.” He said these phones are going to have a significant effect in the Rs 1,500 to Rs 5,000 price segment and thus revive the brands that are focused on feature phones.
Tuli is certain that despite the rise of 4G, service providers will continue to bank on 2G and 3G to manage the increasing pressure on spectrum. “In the near future we will see 2G, 3G and 4G offering diverse corridor with separated client encounter. This is the reason the approach of 4G is important– it will free up range in 3G as individuals move to the more up to date innovation. The chain reaction of this will be 2G becoming cheapest for the first-time Internet users.”