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Cheap Phones From Google and Mozilla Add to Samsung's India Problems

Sundar Pichai, senior vice president for Android, Chrome, and apps at Google, speaks during the company's Android One smartphone launch in New Delhi on Sept. 15
Sundar Pichai, senior vice president for Android, Chrome, and apps at Google, speaks during the company's Android One smartphone launch in New Delhi on Sept. 15Photograph by Kuni Takahashi/Bloomberg

There are 886 million active mobile subscriptions in India, giving the country a cellular penetration rate of 70 percent. However, relatively few Indians use those phones to go online: India has 243 million Internet users, a penetration rate of 19 percent, according to a July report by We Are Social.

About three-quarters of those Internet users rely on their mobile phones to go online, and if Google is right, the gap between mobile subscriptions and Web use should narrow quickly. The company today unveiled new low-cost smartphones for the Indian market to take advantage of a shift to the mobile Internet. “We expect India to be the second-largest Internet market by 2017,” Sundar Pichai, Google’s senior vice president, said at the announcement in New Delhi, Bloomberg News reports. “And it’s happening due to mobile.”