Mukesh Ambani's Reliance Industries (RIL) in its nationwide launch of 4G network has reportedly inked a deal with South Korean tech giant Samsung to introduce budget LTE devices.
According to The Times of India, Reliance is mulling to roll out LTE devices for as low as ₹5,500 in partnership with Samsung. It was also reported that these budget devices will be sold in the country with data packages, and the high-end phones in this category will be made available on minimal EMIs. The device is likely to get a soft launch by mid-2013, followed by a grand debut more likely in December.
"Samsung will not be just another vendor to RIL supplying handsets as it was when Reliance Infocomm was launched in 2002. They are seeking a much broader role. A possible joint venture could also be in the offering," a sources told The Times of India.
Both Reliance and Samsung have not commented on this new venture. If the report rings true, then the Indian telecom market would witness a spree of 4G-enabled devices.
"We went to the Korean giants before the Reliance Infocomm launch to manufacture handsets at $100, a price never heard of then in early 2000. They didn't entertain us then. We came back to our drawing boards, did an in-house research and went back to them showing how handsets can be manufactured within $100 and told them if they don't manufacture handsets for us at that price, we will do it on our own. In the process, they will miss out on a billion-dollar opportunity. That's when they gave in," an insider told TOI.
Earlier in February, Reliance Communications had signed an exclusive deal with PC maker Lenovo to launch smartphones into India's burgeoning smartphone market. The company is will roll out four to five smartphones in the next six months under this partnership.