Exclusive: Poco India working with telcos to bring low-cost 5G phones


Poco is working with Indian telecom service providers to bring low-cost 5G phones to India by bundling tariff plans. The discussions, which are underway, will allow the brand to further contribute to the adoption of 5G in India.

“We are looking for some partnership with one of the [telecom] operator on how to make these [5G] In an exclusive conversation with BGR India, Poco India country head Himanshu Tandon told BGR India that phones bundled with 5G plans are more affordable.

Tandon, who did not give a timeline for when phones with bundled plans would be available, said the rollout of low-cost 5G phones depends on 5G tariffs, which are not out yet. Telecom service providers are in the process of deploying 5G in more and more cities as per schedule and are likely to announce tariff plans for 5G services after a wider 5G rollout.

“5G and their full plans for 5G adoption are still not out there. once that’s out we can basically get over it [the] at the forefront and partner with them to drive 5G adoption seamlessly,” Tandon said.

More 5G phones but with compromises

Serving as a distinct identity post its separation from Xiaomi, Poco has built up its fan base with the help of phones that have the right mix of specifications available at aggressive prices. It is one of the first brands to launch a 5G phone in India.

As 5G becomes available in more places, the demand for 5G has increased and Poco is set to be a part of the increased adoption. The brand is keeping pace with its rivals by launching affordable 5G phones, but producing a low-cost 5G phone has been challenging. Poco’s rivals claim to launch a sub-Rs 10,000 5G phone. But it will be an uphill task, especially with rising component costs.

“There is a significant amount of tax. It is like the 5G tax that we have to pay for the chipset. Although a 5G phone is available for Rs 11,000 today, there are compromises in favor of specifications and features, which affects the user experience. The lack of some important features like high refresh-rate OLED displays or fast battery charging is inevitable to make 5G phones affordable.

“If a good quality 5G phone, which includes a basic chipset and AMOLED screen, it will basically be around 15k (Rs 15,000) or more than 15k. So, it’s possible to bring that 5G technology to an affordable price point, but a complete phone with all the specifications will cost more than the 4G phones out there right now. And keeping in mind the 5G revolution, our vendors and partners are also getting additional features on 5G chipsets as compared to 4G chipsets.”

what customers want

Most customers don’t care about the agreement. They would love to have a 5G phone, if it fits in their budget, all the better, even if they have to give up some features. Thus, the segment of Rs 12,000 to Rs 20,000 has changed accordingly. Today, a customer spending Rs 15,000 or more wants his phone to be 5G ready, but, according to Tandon, in the next three to four months, people will expect 5G on a phone under Rs 12,000.

“Initially, like six months ago, it was around 20k, but now above 15k, 5G has become a sanitation barrier. So, let’s say a 4G phone above 15k, [for] That, the acceptability will be less,” Tandon said. “I’m hoping, with the data points we’re seeing between 4G and 5G phones at similar price points, that [hygiene] Suppose it will come down till 11k-12k also. In the next three-four months, I think above 12,000, sanitisation will come and hence, a significant portion of the people opting for 5G phones will be even more.

An important role for telecom companies

There’s only one thing that could make affordable phones a viable business practice: 5G adoption. The faster the adoption, the cheaper 5G phones will be available. And rapid adoption of 5G will depend on a number of factors, such as easy access to equipment and plans the public can afford. Tandon believes the latter is important.

“The adoption of 5G, people still have to watch. It depends on the tariff rates. Assuming there is a significant difference in 4G and 5G tariff rates, adoption will be low. Then, people can go back to 4G phones,” he explained.

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