Several months after Worldmode chips from HTC became available, the first CDMA-GSM phone using the platform — HTC Desire 728g, has become available in India.
Though there has been no official launch, the phone has started making an appearance in select retail outlets in the capital.
The initial price of the device is around the Rs 19,000 mark, though it is expected to decline to about Rs 15,000-16,000 once availability improves.
UPDATE: The phone is selling on eBay India at Rs 17,000.
India faces an absolute scarcity of up-to-date CDMA-GSM Android mobile phones despite having two nationwide CDMA networks and one regional network.
Part of the reason for the shortage has been patent and licensing disputes between those who own CDMA patents and handset makers, while the other reason is the lower number of subscribers on the platform.
Because of these two reasons, handset makers slowly shifted all their attention to GSM phones, till recently when chipmakers such as Qualcomm and MediaTek came out with all-in-one solutions. With these, handset makers can easily build support for both technologies without having to deal with owners of CDMA technology themselves.
HTC Desire 728g, however, will not be the first dual-SIM GSM-CDMA Android phone to come to India with such chips.
Gionee F103, Meizu M2 and M2 Note and several models from Intex are already in the country with the new chips (MediaTek MT6735 and 6753). However, in all these cases, the CDMA functionality has been turned off.
These phones, however, are priced between Rs 6,000 to 10,000, while the Desire 726 is more of a mid-range phone, and a successor of sorts to the Desire 820 series. The Desire 820 series also had a CDMA-GSM Android phone — the 826x — based on a Qualcomm solution.
The 826x is currently selling for Rs 22,000 and comes with a full-HD display, unlike the 728, which has a 5.5-inch HD display with only 1 mln pixels instead of the 2 mln found on full-HD ones.
Other specs of the phone include a 13+5 MP cameras, 2 GB of RAM, Android Lolipop 5.1.1, a 2.8 Ah battery and a decent 16 GB of onboard memory. Part of the reason why the Desire 726 costs more is that it comes with the mid-range MT6753 chipset and not the entry-level MT6735 unit. The MT6753 offers decent amounts of power and can be compared to the Snapdragon 600 series.
At present, CDMA operator Reliance Communications offers the cheapest calling rates in India. While most other operators charge between Rs 0.5 to 1.00 per minute, RCom charges only 25 paise per minute for pan-India calls.