In a move that is likely to disrupt the Indian smartphone market, dealers are taking orders for Nokia Lumia 638 at prices around Rs 9,000, which will make it the cheapest LTE phone in India, and promising delivery in ten days.
A dealer in Delhi’s Nehru Place said the phone’s official price will be known only next week, but was promising to deliver the phone in the Rs 9,000 range.
Given that initial orders carry a slight premium, the official price could even be around the Rs 8,500 mark, which would be very surprising given that the Xiaomi RedMi Note 4G is priced at Rs 9,999.
For Nokia to offer a 4G-enabled Lumia 638 at Rs 1000-1500 less than Xiaomi’s cheapest 4G offering will be surprising. Also, the LG F60, which has very very similar features to the Nokia Lumia 638, is priced at Rs 15,000.
What is even more surprising is that the Lumia 638 was priced at Rs 13,000 (1,299 Yuan) when it was launched in June in China. That said, the dealer also said that if the final price is slightly above what he is quoting, the difference has to be made up.
The single-SIM Nokia Lumia 638 is largely based on the Nokia Lumia 630, which is priced at Rs 7,000 for the single-SIM version. However, there are two key difference between the Lumia 630 and the Lumia 638 – RAM and 4G LTE support.
While the 630 (and 635, which has not been launched in India yet) come with 512 MB of RAM, the Nokia Lumia 638 comes with 1 GB of RAM. Even with half a GB of RAM, the phone has not been reported to be laggy, though some reviews have questioned some software peculiarities of the 630.
The biggest asset of the Lumia 638 will be its support for both types of LTE launched in India so far – TDD and FDD – in the right frequencies.
In other words, other than the RedMi Note 4G (which is unlikely to be sold for another few weeks), no other phone priced below Rs 20,000 support both types of LTE in use in India.
That will indeed be the biggest selling point of the phone, particularly given that Nokia already has a reputation for good network support.
The model launched in China recently, which is apparently the same version that is going to be sold in India, support the following LTE bands – TD-LTE – 2600 (B38) / 2500 (B41) / 2300 (B40) / 1900 (B39) MHz, and FDD-LTE 2600 (B7) / 1800 (B3) MHz, besides 3G and 2G.
The Nokia Lumia 638 will support 150 Mbps of download speed and 50 Mbps of upload speeds on LTE.
Other than these two qualities, the specifications are largely the same as that of the 630. It will have a 5 MP camera at the back, a 4.5-inch 480 * 854 pixel display, Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 MSM8926 quad-core 1.2 GHz processor, 8 GB of built-in memory, 1830 mAh battery and will come in 4 different colors.
The launch of the 638 would also indicate that with Reliance Jio Infocomm gearing up to start services in a matter of days or weeks, mobile vendors are getting ready to cater to the huge demand for 4G handsets that it would set off.
Jio has pan-India spectrum and while it may not launch in all places at one go, by June next year, its roll-out would be more or less complete. It is expected to offer data rates that are a fraction of current 3G prices using both the FDD and TDD technologies using its spectrum in the 2300 MHz and 1800 MHz bands.
Meanwhile, the Nokia Lumia 638 would also bolster Microsoft’s presence in the mid-range market. It has tried to address the mid and high end markets in India, but has found mixed success due to its reliance on the Windows platform and the presence of cheap Chinese brands that offer similar specifications for half the price.
However, most Indian brands such as Micromax have not been able to jump on the LTE bandwagon as their main chipset supplier, MediaTek has only very recently started integrating LTE technology into its chipsets. However, with its MT6595 octa-core processor starting to ship in October, even Indian players are expected to start selling LTE handsets by January. However, these handsets would be priced above Rs 16,000.