Nikhil SubramaniamMar 28, 2014 19:30:26 IST
Let’s face it: we are itching to see what 4G LTE is all about? The promise of high-speed internet has got us salivating, just as the 3G launch did in the last decade. As 3G phones become commonplace, 4G is hitting India in a big way this year.
The first phones to benefit from the inaugural 4G wave were the two iPhones – 5s and 5c – as Airtel launched mobile 4G in India, starting with Bangalore. And now there’s a third contender (also with Airtel’s 4G services), which could just be the darkhorse in the smartphone race.
We aren’t calling the LG G2 a darkhorse because it’s not good enough or because LG doesn't have a great market share. In fact, the phone is very good as we have said in the past and LG has climbed the rankings on the back of its success, coupled with that of the Nexus phones. But because of the imminent entry of 2014 flagships, the LG G2 will always be perceived a peg lower than those phones. With a March release of the 4G G2, LG is trying to change that with sort of a new offering (and definitely a new SKU) to compete against the Samsung Galaxy S5 and the new HTC One M8. Both will be releasing in India around the same time.
It’s also likely the LG has signed a deal with Airtel for 4G on the LG G Pro 2, which was launched earlier this month, but is yet to be widely available. Then there’s the LG G Flex as well. So LG has definitely got the jump on Sony, HTC and Samsung.
HTC One M8 is slated to launch in India with 4G support, but as a brand new phone it will be thousands of rupees more expensive than the LG G2, which still has tremendously powerful hardware. At the launch price of Rs 46,000, the 4G version of G2 is also less expensive than the iPhone 5s. With the Samsung Galaxy S5 launching for well above Rs 50,000 too, LG has an advantage in the price department. Moreover, the current Indian version of the S5 does not have LTE support, so the G2 has it beat there too. Samsung could change that with an LTE-toting S5 at a later date.
4G will be the in thing by the end of the year, a must-have on the specs sheet of high-end phones. It has to be because the telecom ecosystem needs it to be. 4G will be the big differentiating factor between those who have the rights and those who don't. Telecom operators such as Airtel, Reliance JIO will naturally try to push 4G services to all corners to maximise ARPUs in the light of dramatic fall in revenue through SMSes and even voice calls, thanks to the rise of smartphone apps, which aim to replace these primary mobile functions. We are likely to see more and more devices coming to the market with 4G services and not just at the higher end of the spectrum.
So LG’s timing has to be lauded. It’s revitalising a phone which is technically last year’s flagship with a killer feature.
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