They will share channel, retail networks and sales resources

Mobile handset maker Micromax and telecom operator Aircel, who are both struggling for greater market share in their respective fields , hitched their wagons to each other on Wednesday in a strategic partnership that is aimed at driving data growth and the sale of mobile phones.

In what is being touted as a ‘win-win deal’, the two companies will share their channel and retail networks, sales resources, and kick-start an integrated device sales activation programme.

“What we are essentially doing is leveraging on each other’s strengths. Micromax phones will come bundled with an Aircel SIM, and we will start carrying their phones across our retail stores,” said Sankara Narayanan K, Strategic Business Unit Head, Aircel, while addressing a press conference here on Wednesday.

“This alliance includes the whole range of Micromax and Aircel products,” he added.

The partnership, however, goes deeper. Micromax smartphones that are sold will now be accompanied by an Aircel SIM card that will offer local calls at one paisa for two seconds, STD calls at one paisa/second and 2GB of free data every month.

This offer, along with other similar offers for feature phones and dongles, is valid for three months.

These heavily discounted data and voice rates will only be available as an option to buyers of new Micromax phones however.

Micromax, which sells 2.3 million smartphones every month, is expecting a big boost in growth due to this alliance, according to Ajay Sharma, Smartphone Division Head, Micromax.

“This is the first time we’ve done something like this. We chose Aircel because it is very focussed on data. We may also look at undertaking regional marketing strategies together,” Mr. Sharma said.

For Aircel, on the other hand, this alliance amounts to a huge number of new Aircel SIMs hitting the market every month.

“The trick here is the dual SIM nature of the phones. We’re hoping for a hit rate, which is the percentage of customers that take up the Micromax-Aircel bundle, of 70 – 80 per cent in markets where we are strong. The plan is for customers to get used to the quality and strength of our data services,” Mr. Narayanan said.

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