Bharti Airtel in collaboration with Samsung, is offering data bundles with the new Galaxy S5 to both pre-paid and post-paid customers. This is a part of Samsung's large scale collaboration with SingTel, a Singapore based Telecommunications company which owns 32% stake in Bharti Airtel.
As a part of what they call as a 'Retail Collaboration Programme', Airtel will offer mid-range and high-end smartphones from Samsung under its own roof, both physical stores and online portals. Airtel is offering pre-booking of the newly released Samsung Galaxy S5 at a price of Rs 1,500. Airtel will offer 1GB of 3G data for the first 6 months to the post-paid customers with the plans of myPlan 399 and above. The pre-paid customers on the other hand will get 2GB of 3G data per month for the first 2 months. Airtel might offer EMI schemes for the Galaxy S5 to customers with credit cards in the same way it did earlier with the Apple iPhone 5S. Although it is not confirmed. Samsung is also offering 30 days of replacement guarantee to its buyers of Galaxy S5 through its own portal.
SingTel group of companies such as AIS (Thailand), Globe Telecom (Philippines) and Telkomsel (Indonesia) are also offering direct carrier billing for Samsung Apps. Although Bharti Airtel had a similar deal with Samsung in 2011, we are not sure if the deal is still on as its name was missing from the press release. Samsung Apps Store should not be confused with Google Play Store which is a part of Google Mobile Services which offers apps, games and other content for Android devices. Samsung has a similar set up of its own where it pre-loads Samsung Apps Store to all its smartphones and tablets. There have been rumours that Google is forcing Samsung to remove or tone down its own content catalogs and give preference to Google Play Store and other Google services. It would be interesting to see if carrier billing makes any difference in the adoption of Samsung Apps Store in comparison to Google Play Store which doesn't have carrier billing option as of now.