New Delhi: In what could be the cheapest mobile handset and a market gimmick to increase its subscriber base, leading telecom service provider Vodafone Wednesday unveiled a cellular device priced at just Rs 799.
Although the company would be targeting primarily to increase its subscriber base with the launch of this handset, especially in the rural areas, the device would be available for customers in the open market also.
The handset would not be locked for exclusive use of Vodafone subscribers, company officials said, adding that "we will offer free connection with the phone. It is up to customer to take only mobile device or both."
Asked whether this would be the cheapest handset in the market, company said "it is certainly the most affordable ultra low-cost phone."
The move puts Vodafone in direct competition with low-cost handset manufacturers like Micromax and Fly, who are retailing their phones in the sub-Rs 2,000 category, but this is the first time that a telecom operator would sell a phone priced below Rs 1,000.
"The cost of handset can be a significant barrier for people in accessing and benefiting from the mobile revolution.
At the price point of VF 150, many more people will become part of the connected world. We will continue to facilitate consumer empowerment through such initiatives," Vodafone Essar Chief Marketing Officer Kumar Ramanathan said in a statement.
The handset, Vodafone 150 (VF 150), weighs about 70 gm, has a one-inch B&W display, is equipped with speakerphone and a torch and comes with one-year handset replacement warranty.
The cost of the phone includes 4 percent VAT, but the Rs 799 tag could vary in a few states, owing to different tax structures, it said.
Market leader Nokia has low-cost mobile phones in India priced at about Rs 1,300, while numerous Chinese handsets are also available for very low prices.
With the availability of cheaper option phones, the user will get the branded device and would also be assured of after sales services.
First Published: Wednesday, May 05, 2010, 19:51