Indian mobile brands that over the years carved a niche for themselves—from feature phones to smartphones—seem to be faltering in the 4G LTE device space.
According to Business Standard based on a Counterpoint report, the combined share of leading Indian brands in the LTE device space—Micromax (7%), Intex (3%) and Lava (2%)—is just a third of market leader Samsung’s 36%. Only Reliance’s Lyf has managed to make a dent with 9%.
Ironically, this has happened despite Micromax having a 14% share of the smartphone market against Samsung’s 26%. Some of this can be attributed to the continued focus on low-cost devices for the mass market while LTE devices were in the semi-premium and premium range.
While Xiaomi and Lenovo introduced LTE devices in India early in 2014, domestic brands cottoned on only in mid-2015. So, in Q2 2016, LTE devices accounted for under a third of smartphone shipments for Indian brands—Micromax and Intex—while it is 90% for Samsung and 92% for Lenovo. Only Lyf had a 100% LTE device portfolio.
During the period, LTE smartphones grew 264% year-on-year. With operators like Airtel and Vodafone lowering data rates, the demand for LTE devices has risen sharply. Domestic handset brands also couldn’t see that buying pattern had shifted to online purchases. But, things could change for them as prices of LTE devices fall leading to larger volumes.