Smartphones bundled with telecom operators are lively again in India, even though in a different type from the Monsoon Hungama of 2003 of Reliance Infocomm! At that time, the carrier was subsidizing the handsets.
But this time, it’s the different way. And analysts claim that the new bundling deals might be successful since it is a win-win for all them—telecom companies, handset players, and of course, users. Under the latest variant of bundling, mobile carriers and brands have been merging up to provide low-cost data and free voice for, say 1 Year, on procuring of a specific smartphone.
For example, lately, Micromax rolled its Canvas 2 handset with a year-long scheme of 600 Minutes of off-net calls and 1 GB/day free data from Airtel. In addition to this, Vodafone India is giving free of cost data to the users buying Nokia 5, Nokia 3, as well as Nokia 6. Jio too has merged with various mobile makers since its introduction. The handset manufacturers pay the bill for users’ usage as a fraction of a confidential commercial deal.
Vodafone, Airtel, and Jio, however, might get a considerable number of new data users. Various consultancy companies claimed that the stock of handset-telecom company bundling schemes are presently at almost 4% of the total scope of tariff schemes in the industry, which was negligible in the last couple of years.
This is anticipated to grow to 6–7% over the upcoming few years or so as top telecom companies make effort to retain current customers and bring in new users in the era of strong rivalry from Reliance Jio, which itself is merging with handset giants. Analysts claimed that previously bundled schemes (in which customer receives free data with handset and SIM purchase) used to offer 1 GB or 2 GB, which has shifted to 10 GB owing to fall of data tariffs rates.
“Bundling plans shifted to data or byte-based from voice or minute-based! With mobile data traffic elevating by 76% in 2016 boosted by rising usage of 3G/4G services, telecom companies also accepted data-driven bundle strategy to augment data usage,” said industry analysts.