Bharti Enters Mobile Phones Business, More Feature Phones Your Way

Bharti Telecom, India’s largest telecom operator has announced plans to enter the mobile business via its handset group firm, Beetel.

The feature-phones will be dual SIMs and priced in the range of Rs. 1,750-7,000.  To be designed in India, expect these phones to bring interesting features (like support for gaming, triple SIMs etc) for the local market.

Beetel is one of the largest manufacturers of landline phones in India and is amongst the leading telecommunication equipment provider across the globe and if you recall, they were the first ones to come up with push button phones and expect the company’s entry into mobile phone add to the price war in the existing competition.

Expect bundling partnerships with other operators as well as VAS players (and integration with Internet services companies).

“Beetel will offer a bouquet of VAS features to appeal the youth, ranging from popular social networking applications (Facebook and Nimbuzz) to partnering with Mobile commerce partner (NgPay), mobile portal (Yahoo), Internet browser (Opera Mini), added with offers of free call and free SMSes powered by Ibibo.” – source.

More Competition for Nokia?

Nokia is losing market share in India and in a recent interview, Nokia’s India MD made an interesting statement on the price war

“Price is not an innovation if you are not the lowest-price manufacturer. If you can produce a minute at the lowest cost, which I believe Bharti Airtel does, then everybody else is giving away margin. If you look at Indian business — be it detergent, retail or FMCG — price warriors have never succeeded,”

Well, low price is an entry strategy and that’s where Micromax has done a great job – they brought ‘good looking’ phones to the masses with compelling features like dual sim (mosquito repellant phones?) etc. Market Sustenance of course will come from continuous innovation and the ability to bring more (utilities) for less (price).

Nokia recently came out of its denial mode and launched dual SIM phones in India (Nokia C1, Nokia C2). Expect Beetel’s mobile foray to force others to innovate.

Recommended Read: Local Companies vs. MNCs in the Emerging Market

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