India’s smartphone paradox: Damn cheap, yet unaffordable

Can you afford it?
Can you afford it?
Image: EPA/Jaipal Singh
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Many Indians can’t buy even the cheapest of smartphones.

At $158, the average retail price of a smartphone in India is the second-lowest among 17 developing markets analysed by Mary Meeker, a partner at venture-capital fund Kleiner Perkins Caufield Byers. Only Bangladesh is cheaper, at $123, according to Meeker’s closely-watched Internet Trends Report for 2016.

Yet, for the average Indian, these devices aren’t exactly affordable, as Meeker revealed by calculating the average cost of devices as a percentage of gross national income (GNI) per capita at 2014 levels. GNI is country’s GDP combined with its international income.

Here’s the list: