The market for CDMA services in India received a significant boost with the wide scale launch of the OMH (open market handset) initiative on Wednesday with players from the ecosystem including service providers and handset manufacturers sounding upbeat on the new opportunities enabled by the introduction of such an initiative.
The Open Market handsets (OMH) initiative is endorsed by the CDMA Development Group (CDG) to enhance the CDMA ecosystem by offering a greater selection of devices through multiple distribution channels.
CDMA operators in India are now OMH compliant and henceforth the segment will witness range of OMH handsets being introduced.
From a subscriber point of view the initiative results in providing access to wide range of handsets as opposed to present scenario where the options are limited as per operator’s tie-up with manufacturers. This also effectively results in CDMA connections being offered on SIM-based mode in unlocked version. This effectively results in simplifying the churn needs of the subscriber i.e. simplifies the process of switching networks within the CDMA operators.
The launch of the OMH initiative will see introduction of 25 new OMH handsets this year including entry-level to multimedia phones.
On the occasion, Sandeep Sibal, Country Manager and Vice President of Technology, Qualcomm India & South Asia, said, “We are here to celebrate the growing success of OMH initiative since the first commercial launch in August 2009. India being the second largest CDMA market in the world, with over 110 million subscribers, was the launch market for OMH initiative. Today commercial OMH handsets are available from Samsung and Micromax with OMH SIM cards from all Indian CDMA operators. We expect 25 OMH handsets to be launched this year, ranging from entry-level multimedia to smartphones, half of which will have EVDO high-speed data capability.”
Vrajesh Shelat, Head Wireless Data Business, Reliance Communications, said, “OMH has done exceedingly well in India, offering wider choice of devices to consumers and ease of access with OMH SIM cards, which work seamlessly for experiencing multimedia and internet services leveraging high-speed data networks of CDMA operators. OMH has enabled enhanced time-to-market capabilities for OEMs, and more flexibility and efficiency for operators to expand voice and data services.”
Ajay Mathur, Senior Vice President and Head Consumer Marketing, Tata Teleservices Limited, said, “The OMH initiative is critical from a consumer point of view and this platform will give a tremendous boost to the high-end smartphone category with rich data downloads and video-streaming capabilities in India and competitive pricing. In a short span, we have seen around 15-20% growth from the open market initiative.”
Vikas Jain, Business Director, Micromax Informatics Limited, the leading Indian mobile handset manufacturer, commented, “We will launch six more OMH handsets in next six months in the sub-Rs 6,500 price segment and these will include high-end multimedia and EVDO capabilities (E360 with high-speed internet access, E500 a full touch EVDO handset and a dual smart phone with a Android operating system).”
Atul Joshi, Chief Sales Officer, MTS, the mobile telephony services brand of Sistema Shyam Teleservices Limited (SSTL), said, “Open Market Handsets in the Indian market has provided a great platform for the CDMA operators. OMH handsets and EVDO enabled smart phones will change the profile of the CDMA technology operators in India. The aspirational class will be onward with CDMA blurring the gap between competition and CDMA players.
Deval Parikh, Chief Officer of Handsets, VAS and Procurement, Virgin Mobile, India’s first national youth focused mobile service brand, said, “For OMH, the biggest opportunity is in the handset segment in the price range of Rs 2,500-Rs 9,000, with a focus on the youth category. With OMH expanding as a global initiative, larger device volumes across geographies will play a critical role in lowering handset prices.”
India is world’s second largest market for CDMA services with more than 110 million subscribers.