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Alcatel appoints Agrani as sole national distributor, to launch high-end models in September

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DQW Bureau
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Alcatel is entering the Indian mobile phone market in a big and phased

manner. To this effect, it has entered into a distribution arrangement with

Agrani Convergence, wherein Agrani would be the sole national distributor of

Alcatel handsets, at least for the time being. Alcatel handsets are currently

available in the vendor-neutral Agrani retail outlets. The distribution wing of

Agrani would take care of the channel network in India.

Mohit Kapoor, Country Manager, Mobile Phone Division (south west Asia),

Alcatel said, “There will be some surprises from our side.” Comes September,

and Alcatel has plans to introduce high-end handsets in the Indian market, a

slight deviation from the Alcatel strategy of being rather low-end,

feature-packed handset markets.

Alcatel India is also drifting from the core competency of the parent company

in that Alcatel France’s major focus has so far been the operator-driven

markets. This sudden shift is based entirely on the dynamic market model,

explained Kapoor. “In Europe for example, like we sell switches, we bundle our

handsets with the operators. But in India, the market is still evolving. It was

an operator driven market, but now it is a pure distribution model, and we have

to adapt accordingly”

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But given the fact that the mobile handset market in India has already taken

off, where does a late entrant like Alcatel feature? Kapoor said, “Our

handsets have been available in the market for quite some time now. With Agrani,

penetration is expected to move north. And we are #1 in Sri Lanka and within the

top three players elsewhere, as far as the south west Asia market is concerned.

In India also it should be a matter of time when we will be in the top three

slots. It is also interesting to note that Alcatel has a neutral perception in

the market, compared to some of the other players who have had managed a

negative image for themselves.

“Pricing has been deliberately kept low–beginning from Rs 7,500 and going

upto Rs 20,000. We have to understand that the grey market is tremendously

active in India. Our marketing strategy is therefore to decrease the price

differential between the grey and the legal market, thereby making much more

sense for the consumer to go in for a Alcatel product, at a price slightly

higher than the grey market variants.”

Kapoor is confident that the company is very strongly focused on the handset

division, and going by his earlier comment it is Diwali time for Alcatel now.

Sudarshana Banerjee


(CNS)

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