Reverse Bundling – Will That Change India’s Handset & 3G Ecosystem?

reverse bundling indiaIn recent time BSNL and MTNL, the state owned opeator duo have entered into several reverse bundling agreements with many device manufacturers. This is quite different approach, as many operators like MTS and Idea Cellular are bundling offers with their own branded device line up.

It can be noted that BSNL and MTNL both are in this approach from the very first, since the 3G sets in. BSNL has entered into reverse bundling agreements with different vendors – Micromaxc, Linkwell (VisionTek), Seuji ASPL (SkyNet 3G), Teracom and Shyam Network (Winknet) for 3G data cards; Magicon for 2G handsets; Pantel and Wishtel for tablets; Linkwell (VisionTek) and Shyam Network (Winknet) for 3G routers. In this approach the vendors adds BSNL SIM with the device and with the activation BSNL offers some free goodies, say free some data or talktime.

Airtel, Aircel, Vodafone, Reliance and Tata Docomo – almost all operators are offering voice and data bundles when a customer buys a specific handsets and activates his/her mobile number on their networks.

In US or Europe conventional bundling model works good, as the operators there offer the device at a heavy discount with 2 year long postpaid plans. The operators can offer subsidy as ARPU there is not low as in India and there is generally no breach of contract as the operators store the customers’ credit card details for auto payment at the end of the month.

In India majority of customers are prepaid, so operators have to change the bundling model – you buy a device from the list and activate your mobile number to get free goodies. There is no discount on phone price but you will get free talktime and data. In recent deals you can see every operators are adding data on the offers.

As I told earlier MTS has brought MTag brand for their high speed internet access devices (smartphones and tablets) – MTS is selling devices from Huawei, ZTE, Alcatel, Lava, Coolpad under MTag brand at discounted price and adds some free data and talktime. This model is good considering MTS is offering services on CDMA platform which is loosing its shine in India.

But Idea Cellular is also doing the same but it is good. Among the roadblocks behind poor 3G uptake one is price of 3G devices. In case the 3G handsets come down to Rs 3000 it can work well, but with that operator has to lure the subscribers to stay on its network adding 3G data (at least 1GB) for 1 year for free or at a nominal charge.

As 4G is coming, conventional bundling is seemed to the logical answer. India’s 4G will be LTE-TDD on 2300MHz, something is new to LTE-FDD on 700/800/1800-1900 MHz. So to see faster uptake of 4G operators must set the goal in a long term – devices must be offered at a discounted price. RIL Infotel is rumored to be entered into various vendors including Notion Ink (Adam tablet maker), we can probably see wide range of devices supporting Infotel’s 4G/LTE-TDD network.

What do you think bundling (in reverse or conventional) will make the handset and 3G/4G ecosystem stronger? Drop comments!

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27 Comments on "Reverse Bundling – Will That Change India’s Handset & 3G Ecosystem?"


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October 8, 2012 9:00 pm 9:00 PM


October 8, 2012 7:31 pm 7:31 PM

BSNL 3g is faster than that of any other operator provided there is signal in your area.
Happy Browsing/Downloading. 🙂

October 8, 2012 11:20 am 11:20 AM

I think the operators will have to balance out between reverse and forward Bundling. Both are the need of the day . Reverse – bcos operator bandwidth to sell devices and manage their life cycle is limited ; forward – bcos device manufacturer’s limited capability to further subsidise and push down the prices of devices in order to increase the base of better quality devices .If both the device manufacturer and operator go hand-in-hand and ride on each other’s strength – both will benefit and will be able to save on costs and pass on the benefit to the consumer

October 8, 2012 6:12 am 6:12 AM

Well said. I have bought Nokia N8-00. But I am using Reliamce GSM because I feel it is the cheapest. This mobile provider has only 2G here !!!.

aditya trivedi
October 8, 2012 12:45 am 12:45 AM

Conventional bundling only possible when aadhar comes out, lock phones give them a 2 year contract and if they dont pay for phone then dont give them loan to buy a car or home. This is what happens in US and Europe, but india is different. In India people change their network each and every day. I wonder why they even give reverse contract

October 8, 2012 12:01 am 12:01 AM

Bundling will be the one of the answers for the ever changing and confusing Indian tariffs,it is not open fully understand the tariffs as it the reflects operators one of the making real s
My dear , what is the use of high priced handset or handsets which is having advance hardware specification there is no use if you are getting 10 year old technology from your operator

October 7, 2012 11:27 pm 11:27 PM

please tell me the difference between different spectrum bands
likee 2300, 700 etc

October 7, 2012 11:19 pm 11:19 PM

@Sahil Shah
SAhil High Court mein naaahin aata hau ya GNLU mein 😉

New Settings dal ke Switch off karde problem solve ho jayegi 🙂

October 7, 2012 10:13 pm 10:13 PM

I know that technology in India will arrive and go. But it will not be affordable by common man and no one will use. It is like a DURANTO TRAIN crossing all the stations non stop.

Even 5G may be launched in India. Even at that time, 3G will be costly and people will be using 2G or 2.75G !!!. This will be the situation in this technologically slum India.

October 7, 2012 9:21 pm 9:21 PM

I don’t except anything special from operator in 2300 MHz band,they also have to survive.


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