Micromax has launched two new budget smartphones as part of its Vdeo range with 4G VoLTE capabilities in order to tap into an upcoming and growing market. The Vdeo series of phones from Micromax will go on sale in offline stores from today, and come with a free Reliance Jio 4G SIM, along with the Google Duo app pre-installed. Micromax is pitching 4G and video-calling as the forte of these smartphones, which are priced under Rs 5000.
Micromax Vdeo 1 and Vdeo 2 come with 4G VoLTE, run Android Marshmallow, and have a removable back cover with a metal brushed finish to make it look more premium. Pricing for the phones is Rs 4,440 for Vdeo 1 and Rs 4,990 for the Vdeo 2. The major point of difference is that the Vdeo 2 comes with a bigger 4.5-inch FWVGA display and an 1800 mAh battery compared to the 4-inch WVGA display and 1600 mAh battery on Vdeo 1. Both phones sport 1GB RAM, a quad-core Spreadtrum processor, 8GB total storage space, 2MP front camera and a 5MP camera. But the focus here is not just on the specifications, but also on the 4G VoLTe capabilities, which usually pushes up the cost of phones.
According to Shubhajit Sen, Chief Marketing Officer of Micromax Informatics, data shows the average selling price for 4G phones in India is still Rs 11,000, much more than what what the monthly income is for many households. “Around 75 per cent of the population earns less than Rs 5000 per month. And while Indian smartphones are the second cheapest in the world, they are still unaffordable for many in the country,” points out Sen.
This is why Micromax is launching the Vdeo series, which will focus on bringing 4G, along with smartphone capabilities but at a budget price. Sen says nearly 72 per cent smartphones in India are on 3G or less than 3G networks, but it is expected that by 2021 India will have 45 per cent 4G connectivity. And that is the market that Micromax hopes to capture with its Vdeo series: Users who might be switching from a feature phone to a smartphone for the first time and want to try out 4G.
Sen points out that Micromax as a brand still has the potential of filling the gap thanks to their great distribution network.With Vdeo series, the company hopes to lure in customers with the Rs 5000 and below pricing along with the free Jio SIM capabilities.
Asked why they chose to pre-install Google Duo on the phone instead of WhatsApp, he pointed out that in their testing Duo has proved to be a lot more stable. “Of course, they will install WhatsApp on their own, but what we’ve also seen is that Duo’s simple UI works in its favour,” he argues.
Micromax says they are hoping that by December onwards these phones will all be Made in India. The company hopes to hit half a million in production in the next six to eight weeks.
The Indian smartphone maker, which has seen its market share decline in the category according to IDC’s last set of numbers, is hoping for a comeback with this new Vdeo segment.
Sen points out that in India, the entry level smartphone segment (which was under Rs 6000) and the biggest driver of volume has been declining. “If you look at Counterpoint Research data, this segment has seen a drop year on year. But there is a need for data, for smartphones. We think the Vdeo series will be a compelling 4G phone which will end up reinvigorating this category, which is critical for smartphone growth in India,” says Micromax’s CMO.
Micromax will launch more phones in the Vdeo series, which will be strictly offline only. The target is the Tier-II, Tier-III cities, and the company says phones will remain priced under Rs 5000 in this series. For users who want to activate the free Jio SIM, will have to take it to a Reliance Store and get it activated with their KYC documents within seven days of purchasing the phone.