Vodafone and Flipkart to offer cheap smartphones in India

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Vodafone and Flipkart has struck a deal to offer entry level 4G smartphones in India that has implications for ecommerce in one of the most significant emerging ecommerce markets in the world. India is, after all, the second most populous country in the world and has young population that is keen to embrace digital technology and shopping online. Both Amazon and eBay backed Flipkart are keenly fighting to get their share of what will doubtless become a huge ecommerce shopping market.

The smartphones will cost Rs.999, which is about £11, and Vodafone subscribers will be able to get some rather tasty cash back offers on the handset and their monthly subs if they stay loyal.

Subscribers are required to pay up least Rs 150 per month for 36 months. And at the end of the first 18 months customers can bag a kick back of Rs.900 and then after another 18 months take another Rs.1,100. That’s a total bounty of Rs.2000 over three years that more than defrays the original cost of the handset and ties customers close to Vodafone. The cash back will be credited to Vodafone M-Pesa wallets, enabling them to shop online or they can the withdraw cash.

India is a key market for expansion and the competition is fierce. Amazon and others are spending a great deal of money there to get share and influence. That’s why these strategic deals are so interesting. Not only do they give Indian shoppers the capability to shop more online and this plum deal ties shoppers long term into Vodafone. And by offering it on Flipkart, presumably more people will be coming to the marketplace to shop too.

Avneesh Khosla from Vodafone India said of this Vodafone and Flipkart initiative: “This is an initiative to make 4G smartphones available at a never before price points and thus, democratize access to Vodafone SuperNet 4G. It will also encourage current non users of 4G to upgrade and enjoy a richer user experience with Vodafone SuperNet 4G.”



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