In its mission to build a ‘cashless economy’, the Modi government is pushing Indian smartphone makers to manufacture sub-Rs 2,000 smartphones.
The government has realised that its dream of a cash less economy won’t gather momentum unless affordable devices are available in rural India.
The government officials recently met homegrown smartphone manufacturers including Micromax, Intex, Lava, and Karbonn to talk about the further lowering the price tag of smartphones, a report in Economic Times suggests.
The report said the government asked these companies that the smartphones should have the capabilities to “scan for Aadhaar-based financial transactions” and eventually carry out digital payments with ease.
While the government didn’t approach Chinese players, larger multinationals such as Samsung and Apple skipped the meeting.
A lower priced smartphone would boost the penetration of mobile wallet and other epayment solutions in the country.
Instead of subsidising the cost of smartphones, the government is inviting companies to come up with solutions to bring down the prices.
The government intends to roll out 20-25 million units of such ultra low-cost smartphones.
At present, 3G smartphones cost somewhere around Rs 3,000, whereas 4G smartphones are available at a higher cost. The government is looking for a smartphone with fingerprint scanner or iris scanner for biometric authentication along with high-quality processors and build quality. At the moment, the cheapest smartphone with the fingerprint scanner is the Intex Cloud Scan FP, which is priced around Rs 3,700.
Experts also believe that in the current scenario the brands may find it difficult to deliver a smartphone with such facilities at relatively low price. 2017 is predicted to be a tough year for the smartphone makers as the growing competition has led to some players abandoning the market. The budget smartphone segment is currently dominated by Chinese companies.