itel Mobile is one of the players in India who is trying to capture the large market share with a wide distribution network. It has increased the production of its mobile phones in last few years. Mr. Sudhir Kumar, CEO, itel Mobile shared his opinion with Digital Terminal about their company’s growth and the challenges. Below are his opinions:
Q. How do you see the mobile phone market and its growth in India?
A. The Indian mobile phone market is one of the fastest growing markets across the globe. Just a decade ago, mobile phones were considered a luxury in India, but today, they have become a basic necessity for the Indian consumer. The growth potential of the mobility industry in the country can be judged by the fact that, despite an international slowdown in the demand for mobile phones, the Indian market is still growing at an accelerated pace. Also, the increased purchasing power of the Indian population is directly dictating the demand for mobile phones with quality and performance as their cornerstones. The mobile phone market in India is on an upswing, with the mobile handset manufacturing market itself expected to grow at a CAGR of 49% till 2020 according to a recent report.
Q. What are the major changes you have seen during last few years in Indian Telecom Market?
A. As the digital penetration across the country has increased, mobile phones in India have also witnessed a substantial leap in terms of technology. High-speed internet connectivity and the advent of smartphones in India have increased the flexibility, comfort, and convenience for customers. This has not just been beneficial for the telecom market, but has also opened an array of possibilities for the entire business ecosystem including the entertainment industry and the e-commerce industry. Now, with the buzz created by 4G-VoLTE technology, the future of telecom sector appears to be even more promising.
Q. Please brief us about your vision while establishing itel Mobile Brand.
A. While not owning a mobile phone might seem unfathomable to us in today’s digital-first world, it is a stark reality for a large portion of the Indian populace that, for the longest time, has not had any access to any kind of mobile devices. This is particularly true in rural geographies of India which, despite being home to over 60 percent of the overall population of the country, have significantly low penetration of digital devices.
itel Mobile was created with a vision to empower everyone with the tools needed to claim their inherent ‘Right to Progress’, regardless of their social or financial status. With this ideology at its core, itel Mobile has developed an extensive product line that offers mobile phones with best-in-class feature and localization at affordable price points. We aim to provide localized, cutting-edge, feature-driven, value-plus mobility solutions to make mobile ownership more accessible and ‘within your means’ for the hitherto untapped rural and semi-urban consumers, as well as those belonging to the socio-economic classes C, D, and E.
Q. How do you see the future of feature phone in India?
A. Feature phones are quite prevalent in India and govern nearly 70 percent of the overall mobile-related business in the country today. Even though smartphone adoption is witnessing a constant upsurge in the country, the feature phone segment will still account for almost 61 percent of the overall market share in the country by 2019.
This makes feature phones a very high potential and promising market segment. With a dedicated focus on battery, camera, and quality, as well as on localization and greater value-for-money, our products which have been creating their own niche in the country. Consumers, too, have appreciated our differentiated approach. As a result, we have sold more than 5 million phones and already command a 2% market share in the Indian mobile phone market.
Q. What are your plans to boost smartphone sales?
A. With a complete hold on our supply chain, we are developing an end-to-end ecosystem to support the growth and penetration of itel Mobile within the country. We are proactively adding more distributors and retailers to increase the brand’s effective reach, and are increasing our spending on research and development to create an extensive product array that caters to the unique requirements of the Indian consumer base. We also seek to efficiently tap the thrust generated by the Digital India campaign across the country and become the 4G-VoLTE enabler for Indian consumers looking to move onto the digital medium with our feature-driven, value-plus smartphones.
Q. What all investment you have planned to boost service support in India?
A. Service is our mainstay. We have made ourselves a promise that we will not operate in a market/state without sufficient service infrastructure in place. We have more than 650 service centre right now and aim to have 1000 service centres by the end of the year.
Q. What are your current go to market strategy?
A. Our focus is on providing the rural and semi-urban consumers, as well as those belonging to the socio-economic classes C, D, and E, a chance to own mobile phones catering to their specific requirements and offer them more for less. To achieve this, we aim to create an end-to-end ecosystem for our products, including supply chain, in-house manufacturing and design. We have a dedicated R&D team that comes up with unique innovations to provide highly-relevant solutions for aspiring mobile phone owners across the country. We are also the only mobile phone manufacturer in India to currently offer a 100-day replacement warranty, underlining our commitment to offer quality products and greater value to itel users. Moreover, our extensive country-wide delivery network allows us to enable access to our value-driven, high-quality products for the Indian consumer.
Q. Please brief us about your distribution network. How do you plan to boost your channel strength in coming months?
A. itel has a strong pan-India service network with more than 750 distributors and 55,000 retailers currently on board. We are working towards adding 1,000 distributors and 80,000 retailers to our service distribution network.
Q. What are your expectations from the upcoming festivals? How do you plan to prepare yourself for this huge opportunity?
A. itel is well-positioned to meet the high market demand during the festive season. Our value-plus approach and a dedicated focus on enabling better quality mobility solutions for our users will serve to differentiate our offerings, and allow us to become the preferred mobile phone brand for Indian consumers this season.
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