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India’s mobile phone users spoilt for choice
Published on 5 Jun. 2011 11:45 PM IST
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Once dominated by global brands like Nokia, Samsung and LG, the Indian mobile handset market has seen a revolution in the past few years with home grown companies giving the overseas giants a run for their money.
Mobile phone users in the country -- which sees some 20 million new connections joining the network every month -- also have an unprecedented choice of picking their handsets from as many as 72 global and domestic players.
And the price range is also wide -- a plain-vanilla handset aimed at the rural market can cost as low as `700, while those from Vertu Ferrari Ascent Ti targeted at the upwardly mobile can set you back by a whopping `3,56,915.
So, which are these Indian firms that have mushroomed over the past few years? Among the most visible are Spice Mobile, Micromax, Karbonn, Olive, Maxx, Lava, Videocon, Lemon, Zen, Wynncom, Techcom and T-Series.
According to CyberMedia Research (CMR), the total number of emerging handset brands in India in October-December 2010 touched 72 and had a share of approximately 45 percent in terms of sales.
Frost and Sullivan, a corporate research and consulting firm, says domestic brands are eating into the market share of global handset manufacturing firms by offering devices with attractive features and aping the design of best-sellers at dirt cheap prices.
However, a senior executive from a leading international mobile handset brand denied that local firms were as big a threat as they were made out to be.
International players have also maintained that the growth for the industry, in terms of technology and margins, lie in the smart phone category and this is where they would concentrate rather than get into a price war over lower valued products. But domestic manufacturers contend that once they are able to upgrade their technology, it will lead to a massive increase in the market share of smartphones manufactured by home grown companies.

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