Aakash maker Datawind offers free Internet for a year with UbiSlate 7Cz, 3G7 tablets

DataWind, makers of low-cost Aakash tablets, today said a large part of the Rs 168 crore raised through an IPO would be invested towards expansion in India.

DataWind, makers of low-cost Aakash tablets, today said a large part of the Rs 168 crore (30 million Canadian dollars) raised through an IPO (Initial Public Offer) would be invested towards expansion in India.


"The majority of it will be invested in India;...it will be over the period of next six months, the funding is here- it is just how fast we can go in," DataWind Chief Executive Officer Suneet Singh Tuli told reporters here.


To a question, he said "large part of the investment will not only go into expansion of Amritsar facility but throughout India."


"...We have subcontract manufacturers in Delhi. We want to support the sub contract manufacturers. We have been working with a number of state governments. We want to replicate it in other states also. We have been working with universities for further research. We want to fund those researches."


"It is not just the plants we want to fund; we actually want to fund research which does breakthroughs with such lower cost devices," he added.


Datawind, whose shares are listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX), raised 30 million Canadian Dollars through an IPO that closed on July 8.


The company today announced a retail partnership with UniverCell to market the company's UbiSlate tablets. It also announced that it would provide 12 months of free unlimited internet browsing with the purchase of its UbiSlate 7Cz and UbiSlate 3G7 tablet PCs in partnership with BSNL (Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd).


In response to a question Tuli said with this partnership with Univercell where customers can touch and feel the product in a retail atmosphere,the company expects the numbers (sales) to double fast. "But the Indian market is very very large...." he added.


Until now, DataWind products were primarily available to customers through eCommerce and direct to customer channels such as TV home-shopping. The company will now offer its complete product range of UbiSlate Tablet PCs and PocketSurfer smartphones available off-the-shelf at UniverCell's more than 500 retail outlets spread across southern India, the company officials said.


On the partnership with BSNL, they said it will provide bundled internet access to the company's UbiSlate tablets. Headquartered in Mississauga, Ontario, Canada, DataWind also has offices in London, Montreal, Amritsar and New Delhi.


The company was first to make tablet PC Aakash, which cost the government Rs 2,276 per unit. The company has been also selected for supplying Aakash 4 which is expected to cost around Rs 3,500 and will support 4G services as well.


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