Reliance Communications, India‘s second largest telecom operator, has announced that all Android smartphones sold in India for the next two years, will come with a free bundled 3G connection (albeit, with a 1GB limited download capacity). This marks the first major competitive move by a telco in this fast growing market segment, to grab market share by providing free connections. This will help moving consumers from the slower and cheaper 2G data connections (which cost 2$ a month for 2.5 gb) to the more pricier 3G connections (which cost $15 a month for 3 gb).
Android currently rules in India’s small, but fast growing smartphone segment. With its large installed base of cellphone subscribers, it offers a huge market opportunity, which Google seems determined to tap.
RCOM and Google have entered into a two-year deal according to which all Google-endorsed android mobile devices from companies like Samsung, HTC, Sony Ericsson and LG will come with the telco’s third generation, or 3G, mobile connection with 1 GB of free downloads for the first six months.