Reliance Communications on Tuesday kicked off a price war in the tablet market, with the cheapest 3G model aggresively priced at Rs 12,999. However, the seven-inch, Android tablet, sourced from Chinese telecom major ZTE, is custom-made for the Reliance network.
The device, Reliance 3G tab, comes pre-loaded with a number of applications. The device is wi-fi-enabled, acts as a Wi-Fi hotspot and has a 32 GB expandable memory. The tablet was launched on Tuesday in Mumbai, Delhi and Kolkata and will be available in other circles in the next few days.
In comparison, one of the cheapest tablets available in the market is Olive Pad priced at Rs 14,500, while high-end devices such as iPad2 costs Rs 39,500 a piece.
The device is also compatible with 2G voice and data. "As the form factor of tablets has evolved from 10-inch to seven-inch to even five-inch, we see that the voice factor will also come into play. We see a lot of texting applications from the device," said Mahesh Prasad, president of Reliance Communications.
RCom, which launched its 3G services late last year, has around two million 3G subscribers and wants to increase consumption of the service. It already has launched 3G in 333 towns across the 13 circles.
Analysts agree that the price point is very attractive. "This will motivate voice users to come on board, and tablets as a device will motivate 3G service more and more often," said Alok Shende, principal analyst and co-founder, Ascentius Consulting. He said the ability of the device to be used as a modem will motivate enhanced consumption.
However, Vishal Tripathi, principal analyst at Gartner said: “Success will depend on the number of India-specific applications. It might not be able to replicate the success of mobile handsets because the uptake is not in the same numbers."