RIM looks at CDMA devices to boost India sales

The Canadian firm has been aggressively pushing its GSM and CDMA devices in the country even as its global sales have slumped.

New Delhi: BlackBerry maker Research in Motion (RIM) is now looking at CDMA devices to boost its sales in the country and is re-launching its Curve 8530 model at
about 12 percent lower price of Rs 11,990.

Curve 8530, which was earlier available at Rs 13,500, is the CDMA version of BlackBerry's most popular GSM device --Curve 8520.

"Smartphones are getting popular day by day, but a majority of these are on GSM technology. While CDMA mobile phones have been popular, there is a very little choice for consumers when it comes to CDMA smartphones. And that is why we are re-launching Curve 8530," RIM India Head of CDMA business Francis Jose said.

This will not only help users who are looking at more smartphone options for CDMA, but will also ensure that more CDMA users can move to smartphones, he added.

GSM and CDMA are two mobile telephony technologies, of which GSM is dominant in India with telecom operators like Bharti Airtel, Vodafone India and Idea Cellular offering services across India.

On the other hand, CDMA operators in the country include Sistema Shyam Teleservices, Tata Teleservices and Reliance Communications, though the last two also offer GSM services.

"People are ready to pay top dollar for good devices. CDMA technology has been known to provide great data experience and smartphones ensure that," Jose said.

According to IDC data, India CDMA smartphone shipments are expected to grow at a CAGR of 19.6 percent until 2016.

From less than one lakh units in 2010, the market for CDMA devices in India is expected to grow to over three lakh units in 2012 and to over six lakh units in 2016.

RIM's portfolio of CDMA devices includes BlackBerry Style 9670 (Rs 19,704), BlackBerry Curve 9330 (Rs 15,990), BlackBerry Bold 9650 (Rs 20,990) and BlackBerry Curve 9350 (Rs 20,990).

The Canadian firm has been aggressively pushing its GSM and CDMA devices in the country even as its global sales have slumped.

RIM posted a net loss of USD 125 million for the three months ended March 3, 2012 compared to net income of USD 934 million in the same quarter of fiscal 2011.

During the quarter, RIM shipped 11.1 million BlackBerry smartphones and over 500,000 BlackBerry PlayBook tablets. RIM does not give country specific details.

The company has recently slashed prices of its handsets and tablet PC, PlayBook, as well as expanding its retail presence in India to boost sales.

While prices of GSM handsets were slashed by up to 26 percent, the prices of PlayBook were reduced by more than half to Rs 24,490 for the 64GB version under an offer from the original price Rs 37,990. This was further reduced to Rs 19,990 earlier this month.