If you’re in the US, you may have read this post’s headline and thought something along the lines of So what? We have plenty of $100 4G LTE smartphones over here! Well, yes. But this $100 isn’t subsidized, coming with the requirement of signing long-term contracts. We’re talking unlocked devices sold for $100. Compare that to what your carrier says your favorite 4G device’s ‘full price’ is. And weep.
Obviously, these will be low-end handsets. Right now, Samsung apparently has some low-end 3G-enabled smartphones selling in India for about $100. But in a few months, you may be able to get a cheap LTE-capable handset to go with some very cheap LTE data plans.
Reliance has teamed up with Samsung, according to the Times of India. The Korean company will build Reliance’s LTE network, which is expected to see a soft-launch in Mumbai and Delhi by mid-2013, and then get an official release near the end of the year. But, according to ‘a source close to the deal’ between the two companies, Samsung will also provide Reliance with entry-level smartphones priced as cheap as they can be.
You’ll be able to use these $100 devices with data plans starting at just Rs 100, which is about $1.8. Of course, officials from both Reliance and Samsung declined to comment on the matter, so how true this is remains to be seen.
Still, it’s inevitable that 4G LTE smartphones will reach $100-ish price points. The only question is ‘how soon’. And in India, the answer to that may be ‘sooner than you think’.
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