Indian Government Plans For Low Cost "Made In India" Smartphone

Indian Telecom Department is working on development of a sub $100 smartphone to drive the broadband push, one of the top telecom officials has disclosed to ToI. The move, if true, would be a surprise one after the market's indifferent response to the Aakash tablet that the ministry introduced in India. The overall plan is to manufacture the phone locally in India so that it'll be affordable to larger section of the society. This could be a move to attract the voters by giving the new smartphone to one female member of every household who's worked for over 100 days in 2012 under rural employment guarantee scheme.


The official said that a fully functional smartphone is no longer any object of desire but an instrument of empowerment. He said that smartphone affordability has remained one of the biggest obstacle in the growing the penetration of broadband Internet services in India. The government will manufacture a cell phone it can sell for a price less than $100 on a massive scale. The plan is also to include latest entertainment apps and other essential applications for banking, tele-medicine, education and even farming related apps like e-Krishi.

The formal proposal to manufacture a cell-phone was discussed on July 29th, in the first meeting of joint working group on broadband. Flooding the Indian markets with the new phone will be at the heart of the plan to evolve the broadband ecosystem in India using national fiber optic network (NOFN). The NOFN is expected to go live next year and an investment of about Rs. 21,000 crore has already been made.

Kiran Karnik, ex-NASSCOM chief said that a sub $100 smartphone will be a major broadband driver with large scale penetration power.

The plan does look ambitious to us. The average price of smartphone globally is about $130 or about Rs. 7800. We'd like to ask our readers whether they think this will prove to be a game changer in India?

Even more interesting will be the name Government Of India will come up with for this phone. We'd like to make it an open question to all of you - What do you think the government of India will name the new budget phone?

Via: #-Link-Snipped-#


  • Neeraj Sharma
    Neeraj Sharma
    I am not sure as to how successful this idea would be? Akash tab did not do well and an enormous number of orders were left unserviced. Hope they are planning something good this time
  • Rajan Doomra
    Rajan Doomra
    Not bad Idea..
  • Prashant Munshi
    Prashant Munshi
    The intention of the government in the introduction of telecommunication devices has always been nefarious and keeping eye on elections and reach campaign messages deep into the rural areas. Remind of introduction of television network some 25 years ago. Anyway it would certainly bring a revolution in long run that no people will be left out of reach, that is the bright side of it. Technologically that does not seem to be much challenge producing a smart phone worth less than Rs.5000 once we have experience producing tablet for that price.
  • Anoop Mathew
    Anoop Mathew
    If the Government was bold enough to enhance it's technical minds to build a smartphone which was also fit for rough use and was water proof as well and came with a price tag of say Rs3000 - well then probably people will be tempted to buy it.

    P.S: Why would a kid buy an Akash tablet from his school if his parents are willing to pay a little extra for some form of reliability and service guarantee?

    When you look at the Indian market, majority of the people buy gadgets that last longer, have a better review and after sales service. Those who have bought otherwise have suffered for it as well. So, I suggest to the Honourable Government of India to build a low budget smartphone with proper services and functionality (don't give me that crap about all the useless crores you invest) which would tempt even me to buy one and use - only then will people suggest to other people and hence market the phone!

    What I have seen about Indian products is that it does not sell like a pro. What kind of strategy do you suggest would help to professionalize a product internationally? I may be hard in my word, but it hurts to see lot of potential talent getting migrated to countries abroad!
  • prahu mac
    prahu mac
    it seems like that the govt is making a bold move i really don't think it will work because we have already seen a replica of this the akash tablet where some people don't even have a clue about what it is!!!!!!!!
  • Anand Tamariya
    Anand Tamariya
    What I have seen about Indian products is that it does not sell like a pro. What kind of strategy do you suggest would help to professionalize a product internationally? I may be hard in my word, but it hurts to see lot of potential talent getting migrated to countries abroad!
    Start from the bottom of the pyramid. e.g. how HTC and Samsung started as supplier of electrical components, then moved on to OEM for other brands and now sell their own brands.

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