MTS India is focusing on smartphone penetration, but without supporting imported RUIM-less smartphones it seems a distant dream with some low-end affordable smartphones (MTag series). Also Rev B enabled smartphones are not easily available.
For sometime Sistema Shyam Teleservices (operates under MTS India brand) is in the news as the company plans to boost up operations with new investments to tap the growing data market. They also looking for LTE rollout in the country in 2-3 years. MTS will also focus on smartphone penetration in the country. MTS already launched its own branded CDMA smartphones – MTag. There are several MTag launched in Indian market – Livewire, 3.1, 401, 351, 352, 353 and 281. All of these phones are in the sub-10K range i.e. MTS offers affordable smartphones which will push the customers to opt data services.
But beyond this affordable smartphone range, there is a market for high end and mid range smartphones where CDMA smartphones are almost non-existence. Till now MTS launched only one smartphone in the high end range – HTC Pulse, that’s too with Android 2.1. Recently there is no mid range or high end smartphones launched by MTS – which may be due to company’s troubled business case in India.
If you don’t know there is a wide market for imported CDMA smartphones. Most of them are from US, offer execellent hardwares, latest Android at a very attractive price (though no warranty is given). But the disappointing part is MTS users can not use these smartphones. Most of these smartphones do not have a RUIM slot and programming is done on phone’s internal memory. The progamming is possible over other CDMA operators – Reliance and Tata, as they can send some required files over the air (OTA) when dialed *228 from the phone. But MTS does not have BTS servers which can send these files OTA. There is no update when MTS can offer this, but without this MTS will miss some high ARPU customers for sure.
There are lots of talks that MTS will launch LTE-FDD network over 800MHz band. The LTE800 is nothing new, it has been deploying in Australia and European countries and market-ready smartphones supporting LTE800 are available. But LTE is the company’s long term future, but immediate future lies on Rev A expansion and Rev B roll out from single city (Jaipur) to top cities in the 9 circles. But I don’t think Rev B smartphones are easily available in the market.
So bottomline is MTS has to wide open for all options and for that they really should work upon this thing.