If you thought LTE phones are only reserved for the well-heeled, then here’s some news to warm your heart.

Reliance Industries is in the final stages of signing Samsung as a partner to source the company’s LTE platform for Reliance’s much-talked about bundled data and voice services over 4G networks in India, to be announced later this year.

Quoting a source close to the deal, a leading Indian daily reports that the deal will change the game in India and disrupt the Indian telecom market. The deal is not just restricted to Samsung's LTE tech, but also its smartphone repertoire. The Korean electronics giant is said to have agreed to offer entry-level 4G smartphones at around the Rs 5,500 or $100 mark. The phones will utilise Reliance’s voice and high-speed Internet services, the source said.

Rumours of the Galaxy S IV continue to pour in

Reliance is in talks with Samsung to bring cheap LTE phones to India

While a 3G Samsung smartphone can be had for that touted price at the moment, 4G phones are normally priced in the higher echelons. Bringing LTE connectivity for an entry-level price could be a golden move, especially as word is data packages will start at as low as Rs 100. The source further said that Samsung’s high-end smartphones will be made available at minimum down-payments and EMI schemes.

According to the report, Reliance is planning a soft launch in the metros of Mumbai and Delhi by the middle of this year, while late 2013 will see a formal launch.

Further, the sources told the paper that Samsung is not likely to settle for just supplying handsets and Reliance is looking at entering into a joint venture with the Korean company to allow them a much broader role.

For Samsung, making a big splash like this in India has manifold benefits. For one, it will open up an avenue to capture more of the pie in the world’s third biggest mobile market. It also means that it can use the India experience as a launchpad for regions where LTE connectivity is even more nascent than India and maybe even take the fight to the US where cheap LTE is only just picking up.

This is not the first time that Reliance and Samsung have entered a deal for the Indian market. The Korean giants were approached by Reliance Infocomm during the launch of their telecom services in early 2000s. At the time, Reliance managed to wrangle deals out of Samsung and other manufacturers, despite their initial reluctance, to produce low-cost phones with the lure of a billion-dollar Indian market.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,