Reliance Industries Limited (RIL) has decided to partner with Samsung to help build its upcoming 4G LTE network using the Korean company’s LTE platform technology. This partnership, which Samsung beat out rivals Huawei and Alcatel-Lucent for, goes beyond the scope of just a network technology alliance, but could also involve Samsung supplying handsets for RIL to use with its LTE network.
According to the Times of India, to target the ever-increasing smartphone user base in the country, Samsung could release 4G LTE smartphones for as low as Rs 5,500 (~$100), which will certainly be very impressive, considering that’s around what a 3G-enabled smartphone with Android 2.3 or Android 4.0 on-board costs. Even with high-end smartphones, Reliance promises low-cost down payments and 0% interest EMIs (equated monthly installments) to expand consumer reach.
The entry-level smartphones, and other mid-range and high-end models as well, will be bundled with 4G LTE data packages starting for as low as Rs 100 (~$2), which will also shake up the current LTE data pricing standards, which are quite steep. This is of course because Airtel is the only network to currently offer LTE services, which is further available in only 3 cities across the country, Kolkata, Bangalore, and Pune. Once other networks jump into the race, I’m sure the price points will be adjusted accordingly.
RIL is planning a soft launch of their LTE network in Mumbai and Delhi by mid-2013, with a formal launch happening only towards the end of the year in late December.
Samsung devices are already incredibly popular in the country, and this step will only help the company capture an even larger piece of the market share in the third largest mobile consumer base in the world. Granted, with LTE in its very early stages in the country, we’ll have to wait and see whether 4G LTE devices will be very popular immediately, regardless of how inexpensive they might be.
What are your thoughts? Are you excited about the possibility of low-cost 4G LTE devices arriving in the country soon? Considering the current state of 4G LTE in the country, do you think we need dedicated LTE devices so soon? Let us know in the comments section below.