Local Indian mobile phone firm Lava will launch 4G feature phones as it aims to capture a third of the market share for entry-level devices within a year, while also gradually expanding its budget smartphones, a top executive said. Is.
Since it was founded in 2009, Lava has become popular for budget phones, which have a keypad but lack high-end features.
Lava International president and business head Sunil Raina said the company will launch 4G feature phones in a bid to take its market share in the segment to 35 percent, up from 26 percent now.
The firm wants to “get into a very dominant position” in the sector, he told Reuters in an interview.
Research firm Counterpoint estimates that Lava accounts for less than 1 percent of the world’s second-largest smartphone market, with 650 million such devices.
Despite the increasing use of smartphones by Indians, Counterpoint estimates that about 290 million of the population still use feature phones.
Billionaire Mukesh Ambani’s telecom arm recently launched a device in this category, which offers services like digital payments.
Lava also plans to expand its smartphone offering in the budget segment. In the next two years, it aims to increase its market share for smartphones priced below 30,000 rupees ($360) to 10%, from around 1% to 2% now, Raina said.
All of the firm’s smartphones will be 5G, or next-generation, by next year, he added.
“We believe we can become quite a significant player in this (budget) segment,” Raina said, adding that phones priced below 30,000 rupees ($360) are still expected to be worth $72 billion in India by 2028. Smartphones are estimated to account for more than 40 percent of the market. .
“It doesn’t mean we don’t want to go above 30K … we are building our capabilities step by step”.
Lava’s strategic bet on the affordable category counters moves by top players Samsung and Xiaomi, which increasingly offer premium smartphones as Indians upgrade their devices.
In recent years, Lava has shifted all its design and manufacturing operations from China to India.
Raina added that while it has shelved a plan for an initial public offering in 2021, Lava is eyeing a listing down the road as it develops the smartphone business.