BPL Telecom Pvt Ltd, which manufactures and markets telephones, cordless phones, EPABX systems and power line carrier communication systems, has now forayed into the mobile phone market, becoming the first Indian company to manufacture GSM mobile phones. The company will retail the handsets nationally through its existing distributor and dealer network.
According to P.M. Jayakrishnan, Director (Sales), "Out of the earmarked investment of Rs 50 crore for GSM mobiles by March 2005, Rs 22 crore has already been invested in the handset manufacturing facility."
Of the seven models launched, two are manufactured in-house while the other five are outsourced from Korea. The handsets are priced between Rs 3,900 and Rs 11,600 with features like polyphonic ring tones, MMS, EMS, GPRS, colour 65K TFT, dual LCD panels and camera with multi shot options. "The model Slim 0288 is the thinnest (11.9mm) in India. The model Aristo FC 0657 is the smallest camera phone with the best picture quality available in the market. Another five models will also hit the market before year-end," said Jayakrishnan.
BPL Telecom plans to launch 20-25 handsets model in the next fiscal. While the high-end models would be imported, the rest would be manufactured locally. The company has also ventured into manufacturing mobile phone accessories like chargers and headsets, and will soon manufacture Li-Ion batteries at its existing facilities.
The company has ambitious plans for sustained and aggressive marketing to face the competition. "To attract customers, the introductory launch offer has schemes that include free gifts with the purchase of handsets," said Jayakrishnan.
BPL Telecom hopes to emerge as the No. 2 player in the domestic mobile handset market, with a market share of more than 15 per cent in a span of two years. By the end of the current fiscal, the company expects to generate revenues of Rs 45-50 crore from the mobile handset business alone out of its total turnover of Rs 200 crore. "We have allocated five per cent of the turnover as our ad budget," said Jayakrishnan.