If recent reports are to be believed, India’s home-grown Lava Mobiles is manufacturing devices for other brands. According to Economic Times, Lava is in advanced talks with one of the top Indian telcos to make “co-branded smartphones”.
These will be subsidised by the operator thereby “pulling the cost sharly down for the 4G device”. Lava Mobiles has reportedly already started making Nokia-branded smartphones and is also in talks with Motorola.
A person in the know told ET that Lava Mobiles is in talks with all three telecom operators for design and manufacturing smartphones.
Reliance Jio has been getting it’s devices, the JioPhone series, made by Flex and they are also planning to bring low-cost 4G devices in collaboration with Google. Bharti Airtel is reportedly also in talks with handset vendors for low-cost 4G smartphones under the “carrier subsidy model” and has said that they are exploring device options.
“Lava also has plans to partner with companies that can share supply chains. It is already making smartphones for Nokia [HMD Global]. It is looking to combine forces on the supply chain front,” the source told ET.
“Lava wants to work with important companies that are from outside of the ecosystem in India so that their supply chain can be combined,” the source added.
Motorola was earlier in talks with Dixon Technologies and Lava for a “contract manufacturing $1 billion worth of smartphones in India”.
Lava Mobiles’ chairman Hari Om Rai has said that the company is “strengthening its manufacturing operations, but can’t give specific details of its B2B business contracts due to non-disclosure pacts”.
Lava, along with Bhagwati (Micromax), Padget Electronics, UTL Neolyncs and Optiemus Electronics, has been approved under the PLI scheme (Production Linked scheme) by the Indian government and all local players have “proposed production output of ₹1.25 lakh crore over the next five years”.
Lava has also enhanced its production capacity to 30 million smartphones and 45 million feature phones as per reports.
“Lava will be able to meet the PLI target for this year,” the source said without specifying exactly what the target was.
Lava is actively looking for western companies as part of its push into contract manufacturing and has been working with US companies like AT&T and General Electric to make affordable smartphones for them.