Mobile chip giant Qualcomm has confirmed it is in talks with its various OEM partners with an eye to launching affordable 3G-based smartphones in India, reports India’s Economic Times. “We are working with our OEMs to bring to market smartphones at an affordable range of below INR10,000 [US$225],” Qualcomm vice-president and India Country Manager Sandeep Sibal told reporters at the weekend. The development follows a recent announcement by the Indian government that 3G licenses are to be auctioned in October with an eye to the first commercial 3G services going live in the country by year-end. State-owned operator BSNL is reportedly already trialling a 3G service.
Qualcomm’s target of a INR10,000 price point will significantly undercut the current smartphones available in India. According to the Economic Times, Indian smartphones currently retail at over at INR15,000 (US$339), a price tag that has discouraged mass-market adoption. Even more expensive is iPhone 3G, which was launched by market-leader Bharti last month with prices starting at INR31,000 (US$700). Current Qualcomm OEM partners include ZTE, Huawei, LG, Samsung and HTC, though Qualcomm’s Sibal did not reveal which specific vendors were involved.