Datawind has announced it will release a 4G-capable device early next year and sell the handset at around Rs 3000. It’s planning to further entice potential customers by letting them browse the internet free of charge for 12 months.
Suneet Singh Tuli, Datawind President and CEO, has clarified that the free data cannot be used for videos or downloads. Consumers who wish to do so will have to buy a regular 4G plan. The brand is yet to finalize a partner for the venture, with Tuli stating the company was currently in talks with various telecom operators.
At the moment, Datawind is in business with Telenor and Reliance Communications to provide free 3G and 2G services through its phones. The 4G market is beginning to heat up in India. Bharti Airtel already has a presence in over 350 regions across the country. Vodafone kicked off its LTE network in Kochi just last week.
It plans to expand to Mumbai, Delhi, Bengaluru and Kolkata by March 2016. Reliance Jio is supposed to start its 4G offering by December. Idea Cellular is looking to launch the high-speed network in 750 towns across 10 circles within the first half of 2016.
The new Datawind product will be one of the cheapest 4G-ready devices in India. Such smartphones are currently available at values starting from Rs 4000. A Rs 3000 price tag could help make it even more accessible among the populace.
When questioned as to whether the free internet plan violated the principles of net neutrality, Tuli told PTI that it does not since there were no restrictions on the sites a person could visit. Datawind plans to recuperate costs through ads.