Phones

Realme’s Madhav Sheth, Telecom News, ET Telecom

Realme's Madhav Sheth, Telecom News, ET Telecom
Written by Publishing Team

NEW DELHI: Realme said that it will be difficult for the market to bring sub-Rs 10,000 5G smartphones this year even though the prices have reached below Rs 15,000 in the country. The chinese smartphone maker’s India CEO Madhav Sheth said that lengthening of the smartphone refresh cycle will continue to impact the growth of the market for the whole year.

“We have to make more affordable 5G devices. We want to be a prominent hardware provider towards the government’s digitisation vision with 5G. There are no new 4G chips in the making, so if you need any good performance phone, we have to bring in 5G chips. For brands, the biggest challenge is not to compromise on other specs by making 5G more affordable,” Sheth, who is also the president of Realme International Business Group, told ET.

Sheth said that the company is working on lowering the 5G phone prices but without compromising on specification and performance. A

Asked if India could see 5G smartphones under Rs 10,000 after the spectrum auctions, Sheth said that while prices are coming down but bringing it below Rs 10,000 will be difficult.

“We can’t expect sub-Rs 10,000 phones from any company this year. Next year we can see as we have already started seeing democratisation of 5G technology,” he said, adding that 5G should not be used merely as a marketing tool and should be a strong reason for consumers to upgrade.

On supply chain issues, Sheth said that the gap between demand and supply is getting narrowed and is “much better than before”

“The replacement cycles have increased which has also led to the narrowing of supply and demand gap. If the entire life cycle goes six months higher then you have got an inventory of six months which will help you bridge the demand supply gap. Things will be much better going forward. There used to be a scarcity of chipsets which has come to a negligible shortfall stage,” he added.

He also said that the lengthening of the smartphone refresh cycle from 18 months to 24-30 months will continue to impact the growth of the market, which will be visible in the April-June quarter.

Navkendar Singh, Research Director, Client Devices & IPDS, IDC India separately said that the outlook for 2022 remains cautious from the consumer demand standpoint. “Due to rising inflation and lengthening of the smartphone refresh cycle, IDC expects 2Q22 also to remain muted, while smartphone supplies gradually return to normal, resulting in a slower 1H22 compared to 72 million shipments in 1H21,” he said.

As per IDC, Realme dropped to the third slot but emerged as the only vendor in the top 5 to register a growth of 46% year-on-year, having the lowest ASP of $142. It also maintained its second position in the online space with 23% share in 1Q22 supported by affordable C-series offerings.
Sheth said that Realme has two clear focus areas — 5G and premium category — to drive its smartphone business. “More than 50% of our portfolio is 5G whereas other brands are still struggling with around 25% of the portfolio. We are looking at the 5G leadership.”

The company is increasing its focus on the premium segment and launched the Realme GT NEO 3 smartphone. It has so far sold 5 million GT smartphones in India.

“Volumes may appear smaller but compared to the previous GT series, we have grown 550%. The growth is phenomenal with every GT series we are launching, which is motivating us to launch more products. We are going premium even though we want to fulfill our entire portfolio,” he said.

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