Bharti Airtel on Tuesday announced its exclusive partnership with Taiwan-based smartphone manufacturer HTC to launch HTC Smart handset, priced at Rs. 9,990, which is based on the U.S.-chipset maker Qualcomm's Brew operating system. The leading mobile operator also said it was gearing up for launch of advanced 3G mobile services by this year end.

“Our core network is all set for 3G launch, while our billing, application and contents are also ready. Once 3G spectrum bids are through, services will take six to eight months after that,” Bharti Airtel CEO (India and South Asia) Sanjay Kapoor told journalists here. The auction for 3G spectrum is scheduled to take place on April 9.

Referring to exclusive offering from HTC, Mr. Kapoor said: “With the HTC Smart, our customers will be the first in the world to experience a revolutionary smartphone that is not only affordable but is also 3G-ready.” As per the alliance, the touchscreen phone will be available exclusively on Airtel networks in 30 cities. “HTC Smart marks our strategic focus on India, the fastest growing telecom market in the world. The demand for smartphones is also increasing fast, and in next three years it would account for around 40 per cent of the total handset sales. Our latest handset is an easy-to-use and affordable smartphone through which we aim to create a new category of smartphones,” said HTC Corporation CEO Peter Chou. The company hopes to sell three-lakh HTC Smart phones this year. HTC Smart offers easy-to-use widgets, browsing and connectivity at an affordable price. The integration of HTC Sense brings smartphone experience for people looking to do more on their phone. It also incorporates the latest cutting-edge features and sports a 2.8-inch TFT-LCD touch-sensitive screen and a 3.5 mm stereo audio jack,” he added.

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