It is believed that smartphones are dominating the market when it comes to mobile communication; however it is the 'Feature phones' that are ruling the charts and even surpassing so called smartphones in terms of sales figures.
As per an IDC report, these humble feature phones dominated the Indian market in the year 2016 with more than 50 per cent share, and are expected to rule the Indian mobile phone space even in the year 2017.
These low-cost basic handsets are widely preferred by consumers in small towns and rural areas where people have little need for or money to buy pricey smartphones, which often fails to deliver longer battery life and ranks low in durability and affordability.
That said, we are expected to witness the same trend in the year 2017 where a number of affordable feature phones will hit the Indian market from companies such as iBall, Celkon, Intex, iTel, etc. These will be joined by ui phones- a part of BTM Group of Companies, focused to offer feature loaded low-cost mobile handsets to be manufactured under the "Make in India" campaign.
We at GIZBOT interacted with Nikhil Chopra, Executive Director, BTM Exports to find out what ui phones has in store for the Indian market in the feature phone category, and how the brand plans to sell its products in the already crowded Indian mobile phone space.
To start with, BTM Exports Limited is the parent company of the 'ui phones' and Essline is the manufacturing arm that will produce the feature phones for the Indian market. The manufacturing facility is in Kundli, Haryana, which as per the company has the capacity to produce 1.5 million feature phone units per month.
Mr Chopra informed us that the production facility can manufacture any kind of feature phone and smartphone in the market and that the brand also has plans to foray into smartphone category within next two months. Ui phones will soon announce their first Android powered 4G VoLTE smartphone for the Indian consumers and it is expected to be priced under Rs 4,000.
On being asked how the company plans to sell their feature phones, Mr Chopra informed that UI phones will follow the direct to distributors model (D2D) where the company's feature phones will be made available on retail stores across the country.
Besides, the company has also tied up with an online sales partner for northern India that will help the brand to sell their products on all leading e-commerce platforms such as Amazon, Flipkart, Shopclues, etc.
The company also has plans to open exclusive ui stores in country. The team has already identified four locations as a test pilot run including Ayodhya and Patna being the two.
To meet the demands of Tier II and Tier III cities, ui phones plans to sell 2 lakh feature phone units per month in the Indian market. The company plans to invest Rs. 150 crore in mobile manufacturing by 2020 that will cover manufacturing, marketing and infrastructure for after sale service support.
As we reported earlier, ui phone's prime focus will be on cost effective feature phones and steering smart phones and tablets going forward. As an initial plan the brand will be available in 13 states of Northern and East India, with primary locations covered in phase I including J&K, HP, Chandigarh,Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan, Delhi NCR, UP, Uttrakhand, Bihar, West Bengal, Jharkhand & Odisha, soon.
Ui phones plans to reach out to PAN India by year End. As of now, ui phone will offer service support via 650 service centers throughout the country.
Ui phone will start shipping out the feature phones to distributors today and the products will go online by March 3, 2017. The company is also hosting a launch event in Punjab on 2nd March and in Haryana on 3rd March, 2017. It is worth mentioning that Sach Telecom will be the distributor of ui phones in Haryana where you can check out company's product line-up.
Initially the company would be coming up with 8 models in 4 categories; Super Connect, Super Power, Super Selfie and Super Nexa. We also tried our hands on the ui feature phones.
The phones come with features such as dual-SIM standby, digital camera, LED torch, Wireless FM, Bluetooth, 32GB external memory support, regional language support, auto call recorder, dedicated music keys, etc.
We really liked the company's Power 2 feature phone that packs in a 2,700mAh battery unit and can even charge your smartphone with its reverse charging functionality. These features in low-cost mobile phones will please consumers who are looking for feature rich low-cost mobile handsets.