Reliance bets big on Android

Reliance Communication has taken an aggressive marketing route to acquire a larger share of the Indian Android market

e4m by Rahul Dubey
Updated: May 30, 2012 8:01 PM
Reliance bets big on Android

Reliance Communications is expecting high returns from its collaboration with Google which recently enabled the telecom major to attract the Android users of India. Android is the fastest growing smartphone operating system globally. As per the deal between the two companies, Reliance Communications will market the Android mobile operating system and Google Mobile Services in order to promote the usage of Android devices in India and will create exclusive data plans and services specifically targeted to promote Android devices on its 3G network.

Reliance has become only the fourth operator in the world to be the exclusive partner of Google. In what could also encourage this deal is the recent slashing of 3G data plan by Reliance Communications up to 61 per cent. RCom’s 3G services users will have to pay Rs 250 for high-speed internet usage up to 1 GB and thereafter have to pay 20 paisa for each MB data used.

The collaboration between Google and RCom will ensure that the data plan is optimised for usage with Android devices. The services offered will help RCom reach existing Android customers along with the promotion of at least one 3G data plan. On the other hand, fresh mobile services that will now be available to the users of this plan include YouTube, Google Plus, Google maps and Play besides other applications.

“We have a goal to obtain a disproportionate share of the overall Android base in India by 2014,” Shivani Suri Dhanda, Deputy General Manager – Brand and Marketing, Reliance Communications told exchange4media.

The Blue Bot advertisement is currently present on close to 60 television channels in India. On the social media front, Reliance Communications, which has the second-largest subscriber base in India after Airtel, has initiated the country’s first Facebook-based augmented reality (AR) game, which is part of its ‘Be Blue’ campaign that has been on for the last one month.

Banking on 3G and smartphone users
Reliance Communications reportedly has close to three million 3G subscribers in India. For the Blue Bot campaign, the company is spending close to 10 per cent of its advertising budget. Like many telecom service providers, RCom too is increasingly relying on revenues from internet consumption on mobile phones. The current share of revenue from data consumption is between eight to 15 per cent. Dhanda explained that this was the right time to enter the smartphone data space as the growth of mobile internet and applications on smartphones is at its peak in India.

As per a recent report by Indian CyberMedia Research, Android emerged as a preferred Operating System (OS) for smartphones for a growing number of vendors in 2011. The share of Android OS in the smartphones category saw tremendous growth of over 600 per cent in calendar year 2011. The Indian smartphones market witnessed launch of 150 models by over 30 vendors. Smartphone shipments touched 11.2 million units in calendar year 2011, recording a YoY growth of 87 per cent.

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