Google’s Android gets Reliance Communications as India marketing partner

Reliance Communications, one of the top three mobile operators in India, has struck a partnership with Google to jointly promote Google’s Android operating system in the country.

Reliance has become the first operator in India to enter into the special and exclusive marketing tie-up with Google, and the agreement will follow the patterns of such collaborations in markets like USA, Japan and Australia.

Under the two-year partnership, the Indian telecom operator will provide 1 GB of free data to Goolge co-branded phones (with Google logo) and extend a host of support infrastructure for the platform in India.

Unlike most other markets, India is a ‘self-buy’ market, implying that operator-supplied handsets account for less than 10% of the total handset sales in the country.

What Google gains from the partnership: Reliance will develop Android-oriented customer care, billing, exclusive apps and content and dedicated Android experience zone at Reliance retail outlets across the country. The 1 GB (single time) offer will make Android more popular.

What Reliance gains: Users of Android handsets on its networks will get special apps and features. In addition, Reliance may be able to launch exclusive handsets with Google branding. “The range of Android Smartphones to work best on the superior Reliance network will come from leading handset manufacturers in the world over the next 2 years,” it claimed.

The two will work on Above the Line / Below the Line marketing activities, developing co-branded mobile applications for Android Smartphones and marketing campaigns promoting the Google Mobile Services. Reliance Communications shall continue to work on Android launches and promotional campaigns going forward in the next 2 years, the Indian company said.

The financial details of the deal were not discussed.

Reliance has already launched two exclusive Android-based tablets over the last one year.