This is an exclusive interview Mr. Suneet Tuli, President & CEO, DataWind where he has shared his insights on the upcoming trends in the technology market and what’s ahead for Datawind.
Datawind is the company popularly known for bringing the low-cost Aakash tablets in India. Now, the company plans some amazing things for the Indian customers and this interview has the insights for the same.
Q1. Datawind is in India for some time now and has shaken the low-cost devices market, what’s next for the consumers in India from Datawind?
Since its inception, DataWind has been focusing on the bridging the digital divide. With over 4 billion people around the globe still not connected to the internet, affordability remains a key challenge. We break the affordability barrier with the world’s most affordable tablets, phablets and smartphones. Our mission is to bring the internet, which has the ability to create tremendous social and economic benefits, to billions of unconnected people. Our Internet Delivery Platform offers low cost Internet connectivity solution by bundling an affordable computing device with an inexpensive one-year pre-paid internet browsing service plan.
We have taken steps to come close to our vision. We have applied for MVNO license. We intend to offer bandwidth cost advantage to consumers to the mentioned populace. The company is interested in rolling out the services with a primary interest in India’s rural markets in each circle which continue to be under served. Our target is Rs 199 a year tariff for unlimited Internet browsing across any site via MVNO services.
We have launched several new products keeping in mind the market trends and customer requirements and would continue to do so in the future.
Q2. Why Datawind only select to play in cheap/low-cost budget segment only? Why no devices in budget or mid-budget segment?
Much of the globe still has antiquated mobile networks unable to deliver access to the internet. Using our patented technologies, we are working on driving the cost downward to a level where access to technology becomes ‘universally affordable’ and for the democratization of technology. This technology allows for a fast, rich and affordable experience on existing networks without any new infrastructure.
As a Founder of this company, my vision has always been to bridge the digital divide. This is the core value we have built our business on. There are billions of people around the world in this digital age, that are unable to take advantage of the power of internet, simply because they can’t afford it. Most of them are living at less than a $5 per day, not able to educate their children. Our focus is to empower these Forgotten billions with better quality education and to level the playing field. Our products come bundled with educational apps like UbiClass and with internet browsing for free so that customers can take advantage of technology to educate and to create better future for them. We believe that there are many players to cater to budget or mid-budget segment.
Q3. If we talk on the software front, Google has imposed a certain set of hardware requirement guidelines for the latest version of Android OS i.e. 7.0 Nougat. So, in that case, will we be seeing any Android 7.0 devices from Datawind?
In due time, we will launch products with Android OS 7.0. Right now we are focused on bridging the digital divide. Like mentioned earlier, there are still billions of people around the world that are unable to take advantage of the power of internet because they can’t afford it. Our focus is to empower those Forgotten Billions.
Q4. With 4G/LTE network devices in full swing due to Reliance JIO in the Indian market, will we be seeing any low-cost 4G tablets or smartphones by Datawind in the Indian market?
While 3G continuously extends its wings in India, the fourth-generation mobile services (4G) have been on growth path in the last one year and it will keep gaining ground.
However, real difficulties lie in – Data Pricing and lack of moderate 4G handsets. Right now 2 % to 3% of India’s 1.18 billion phone users have a 4G-empowered handset.
As the leading player in the tablet category, we want to offer incredible top-end specifications technology to all at an affordable price. DataWind ventured in 4G market with our exceptional tablet segment at INR 5, 999. Like others, this tablet offers the correct blend of components. Our 7 inch 4G wonder is the first in its class, beating existing products in the market by more than a 20% edge. With the dispatch of our initial 4G tablet we endeavour to give our clients rapid internet speed at negligible cost. We are also planning to launch additional 4G products at incredible prices shortly.
Q5. What are the new initiatives Datawind is planning to launch in association with Govt. of India?
We continue to support Gov’t’s Make in India and Digital India programs and that’s what we are focused on.
We thank Mr. Tuli for the interview!