India gets first free smartphone
India: Indians could get a smartphone free with a service provider contract. This is a common practice the world over and mobile phones are given free to consumers who sign a contract to be with a service provider in exchange of a monthly rent commitment for one or two years. In India, service provider MTS is leading the charge with the launch of the MTS Pulse from HTC. MTS is available in 19 telecom circles across India including, Andhra Pradesh, Bihar & Jharkhand, Delhi, Gujarat, Haryana, Karnataka, Kerala, Kolkata, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra & Goa, Mumbai, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Chennai, Uttar Pradesh, Orissa, West Bengal, Punjab and Assam.
Customers can get the Pulse for free by signing on for a one year contract from MTS at a monthly rent commitment of Rs. 1500, for a year. For this price, the users will get 1500 minutes of local and STD calling, 1500 SMS and 1500 MB of data usage every month.
The HTC Pulse is an entry level Android smartphone that features a 528 Mhz Qualcomm processor, 3.2-inch capacitive touch screen with a HVGA resolution of 320 x 480 pixels, 5 megapixel camera, Google Android 2.1 OS and 8GB memory card in the box.
The phone is EVDO enabled and can get download at speeds of up to 3.1 Mbps. The phone also offers mobile TV.
To sign on for this, users will need to furnish some extra set of documents over and above the usual photograph, PAN card and address proofs. The extra documents include six post-dated cheques and two recent salary slips. The self-employed will need to show IT returns for two years.
This mighty sound like too much documentation for a mobile phone but we are not complaining. It’s a good start and could push operators to start subsidizing more devices with contracts especially since the mobile handset penetration in India is very high because of the availability of cheap handsets.