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12-31-2009, 03:41 AM #1
Samsung bets on CDMA handset business with new models
Consumer durables company Samsung India Electronics is hoping to sell around two million mobile phone sets compatible with the code division multiple access (CDMA) platform through its open market channel next year.
The Indian subsidiary of the South Korean Samsung sells its CDMA phones through two channels -- directly in the open market and through mobile phone service providers.
"Currently, the ratio of open market sales to telecom operator sales is 20:80. We expect to change to 30:70 next year," said company vice president Hendrick Lee while launching a range of CDMA mobile phones here Tuesday.
Two mobile telephone technologies are used by service providers -- CDMA and global system for mobile communication (GSM).
Nearly 80 percent of the 550 million mobile phone subscribers in India are with GSM operators as CDMA handsets are service provider-specific and changing operators involves buying a new phone.
But Lee said that with the open market handsets -- those that enable a person to change CDMA service provider and are available in the price range between Rs.3,000 and Rs.12,500 -- consumers will have more choice in terms of telecom operators without having to acquire new phones.
For four years since it ventured into the CDMA handset business in 2003 by importing from China, Samsung's focus was on the operator vertical.
"In 2007, we started the open market distribution channel with 1,000 outlets and by 2009, the number went up to 10,000," Lee said.
"We haven't decided on local manufacturing of CDMA handsets here. I am not in a position to say what volume would make economic sense for us to manufacture here. The mobile phone plant at Noida (near New Delhi) can make one million handsets a month."
Targeting the youth segment, Samsung Tuesday launched the Corby Speed, its first touch screen mobile handset on CDMA platform that can give a data speed of 2.4 mbps.
Handset buyers can choose any one of the CDMA players -- Reliance, Tata Teleservices and MTS -- offering attractive broadband Internet packages.
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