(Last Updated On: October 1, 2014)

India’s leading telecom operator Bharti Airtel will shortly announce its involvement in Google’s Android One Program.


Google’s Android One program aims to counter the problem of Android fragmentation by standardizing hardware and software design which would then be used by manufacturers for making affordable Android smartphones.

Google will be responsible for designing the hardware as well software (Android) for the phones launched under Android One program.

Google will set also minimum hardware specifications standard similar to what is set by Microsoft for any manufacturer willing to launch Windows Phone OS based phone.

The Android One Program is similar to Nexus series, but is aimed for entry-level smartphones. Google will launch timely updates for phones available under Android One program just like it does for the Nexus devices. This will take a lot of workload off the manufacturers as they won’t have to worry about working on latest Android updates for their phones.

The phones under Android One will receive updates directly from Google, just like the Nexus series.

The first batch of Android One phones will be launched by Micromax, Spice, Karbonn, and Lava. These phones will be exclusively available online on flipkart and Amazon India.

What’s in it for Airtel and other telecom operators?

The Problem:

The Android smartphones have become so much affordable these days that almost anyone can buy them. But, the problem is many smartphone users don’t use the internet on their phones. Some access internet only via Wi-Fi and only a few percent of smartphone owners use cellular data on their phones.

The main reason for this is that they can’t afford to subscribe to any expensive data tariffs plans.

How is it beneficial to telcos?

It is given that many wannabe Android users will go for the Android One phones without even thinking twice. Google wants more people to use its vast array of internet services. And within those services comes Google Ads. So, number of people using their services is directly proportional to their revenue. That’s why Google would want telecom operators to offer cheap data plans to owners of Android One phones.

As per the, telecom companies would offer cheaper data plans to these users but they will earn back in the long-term. This would come in the form of data overage, subscription to VAS, etc.

Airtel joining Android One program would bring in even more service providers into the game, leading to a fierce competition and even more affordable tariff plans.

We’ll keep you updated about the launches of new tariff plans associated with Android One phones. Stay tuned!