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Reliance Communication to ride on Android phone success in India
Every Google-endorsed Android smartphone that is sold in the country will now come bundled with a Reliance Communications mobile connection as the Anil Ambani company targets high-end users to ramp up subscribers.
RCOM and Google have entered into a two-year deal according to which all Google-endorsed android mobile devices from companies like Samsung, HTC, Sony Ericsson and LG will come with the telco’s third generation, or 3G, mobile connection with 1 GB of free downloads for the first six months.
But these devices will work on networks of all other mobile operators and consumers will have the option to switch to other operators.
Industry experts estimate that more than 200,000 such phones will be sold in India over the next two years and that RCOM will be able to retain two-thirds of these customers on a long-term basis.
“RCOM would be able to retain more than a fair share of these customers on its network,” said Prashant Singhal, Partner at Ernst & Young Global’s Indian affiliate. “The intangible brand benefits from such an exclusive tie-up will exceed the monetary benefits in the two years.”
Singhal said the number of subscribers that the company will add because of the tie-up will not make a substantial difference to its overall user base or to its revenues. But it will help RCOM in positioning itself as a network for premium users, enhancing its current image.
As part of the agreement, RCOM, the country’s second-largest telco by subscribers, will launch a 30-crore campaign for Google Android products starting Saturday.
Google has also committed to an equivalently valued campaign on its online platforms. The advertisement, that depicts the android logo Green Bot going blue, will include platforms like augmented reality and will continue till the T20 World Cup.
“We are creating a dedicated help desk to which any android phone bought under this agreement will be mapped automatically,” said Sanjay Behl, group head, brand and marketing, Reliance Communications.
The two companies are assigning two dedicated marketing people each for the initiative, he added.
“We confirm the collaboration with Reliance to market Android devices,” said a Google spokeswoman.
This will be Google’s fourth such deal globally. It has similar agreements with Verizon in the US, Telstra in Australia and one in Japan.
The Android platform was created by Google, but has since been made open, or publicly available. Manufacturers using Google’s android version carry a Google logo and the Green Bot on them.
These are Google-endorsed. Others who are using the publicly available version of android like the ZTE and Huawei phones do not have the Google logo. In India, Idea Cellular offer packs with Android-based handsets from ZTE and Huawei.
In the past, Aircel and Bharti Airtel had exclusively launched Apple’s iPhone in India as part of similar tie-ups. Airtel retained a sizeable number of the customers that bought the phone, while many who bought it from Aircel switched to other networks.
Average monthly bills of customers using data-oriented phones like Google Android devices is estimated to be around 250-300, while the average monthly bill of a Reliance Communications customer is around 100.
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