Airtel Buys Gulf Bridge International’s India Submarine Cable System


India’s largest operator Airtel today announced it has acquired the India part of submarine cable system from Gulf Bridge International or GBI, a global cloud provider for the Middle-East and Europe.

Under the agreement, Airtel will acquire the ownership of the India leg of GBI’s India-Middle East-Europe submarine cable. Airtel will also pick up a significant capacity on Middle East-Europe leg of GBI’s cable system.

Airtel and GBI have also agreed to formulate joint Go to Market strategies and leverage the footprint of their respective global networks to serve global customers.

This acquisition will improve Airtel’s submarine cable system as it now has large capacities – owned and leased – on multiple international submarine cable systems and offers the maximum number of routes between India and Europe. GBI’s cable asset will complement Airtel’s existing global network viz. IMEWE, EIG, SMW4 and MENA and add significant long term bandwidth capacity, enabling it to serve the booming data demand across emerging markets like India and Africa.

GBI is a multilayer terrestrial and subsea cable meshed network bridges the East to the West through the Middle East, empowers businesses, connects societies and contributes to the region’s transformation towards knowledge-based economies. Its agility, business innovation and diverse portfolio of services make it a partner of choice for carriers, ISPs, governments, and the smart living ecosystem. It is a carrier’s carrier and an enterprise global managed services provider dedicated to turning the region into a global connectivity hub.

Ajay Chitkara, Director and CEO for Global Voice and Data Business, Bharti Airtel said, “We are delighted to announce this agreement with GBI. With this, we are adding a large capacity to meet the growing data, content demand in markets like India as well as serve the connectivity needs of global carriers and enterprise customers. The agreement offers great synergies to Airtel and GBI as both partners will able to build on each other’s strengths in their respective markets. This will also complement Airtel’s existing global network spanning 250,000 Rkms with presence in 50 countries and contribute to our vision of serving customers with a future ready network that is built on cutting-edge technology.”

“We are committed to build a sustainable network in partnership with global leaders, with an ultimate goal to offer the best user experience to our partners and end-users. In line with this objective, today, we are excited to onboard Airtel and together deliver greater value to customers,” said Abdulla Al Rwaili, Executive Vice Chairman and Managing Director, GBI.

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Max Bupa Partners GOQii, Others; Launches GoActive Health Insurance Plan


Health insurance firm Max Bupa on Tuesday announced a partnership with fitness startup GOQii, healthcare startup Practo and 1Mg, to offer a digitally enabled health insurance to Indian citizens.

Named Max Bupa GoActive, the health insurance plan includes inpatient hospitalization and on-the-go access to OPD, diagnostics, personalized health coaching, 2nd medical opinion and behavioral counseling among other features.

“We are very excited with the opportunity of combining digital health and insurance on the same platform and creating a consumer centric offering. The GOQii partnership with Max Bupa is unique as it guides, empowers and motivates consumers to adopt a healthy lifestyle with the help of a Health Coach. This healthy behavior leads to benefits in their insurance plan which is a game changer,” says Vishal Gondal, Founder and CEO, GOQii.

“With 1 in 5 Indians being plagued by lifestyle diseases, health insurance is not an option anymore. Over 60% of healthcare expenses in the country are still out of pocket and self-funded by customers. Our aim with the GoActive Health Insurance Plan is to bridge this gap and bring more and more people into the ambit of health insurance. We have partnered with several experts including GOQii, Practo, and 1mg to build a holistic health insurance plan that is usable on a daily basis and goes beyond hospitalization. GoActive is India’s everyday health insurance plan that covers OPD, Diagnostics, Health Checks, Wellness, Behavioral Assistance, Second Medical Opinion in case of critical illnesses and much more,” said Ashish Mehrotra, MD & CEO, Max Bupa.

Max Bupa GoActive Health Insurance Plan offers a complimentary complete body check-up up to Rs 2500 per adult, diagnostics and cashless/reimbursement OPD coverage. The plan also offers benefits such as renewal discount of up to 20% on achieving their health goals. Additionally, it introduces AdvantAGE – a 10% discount on base premium at the time of buying and on all future renewals if the age of the eldest enrolled person is below 35 years.

The company in this occasion announced that ace tennis player Sania Mirza has been enrolled as the first customer of this insurance policy.

“I think Max Bupa GoActive is ‘THE’ health insurance product that India needs today as it is aimed to keep people healthy and out of the hospital, while still being there in case of contingencies. For me, personally, Max Bupa GoActive works because it can take care of my everyday health needs on the go and gives me someone to track my health even when I forget. It also rewards starting young in multiple ways through its AdvantAGE feature, which gives India a big reason to start early and make health insurance their first investment.”

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Jio’s Valentine’s Day Offer : Facebook On JioPhone


Reliance Jio has got a Valentine’s Day offer for you. If you were thinking of buying a JioPhone but have not bought one thinking you can not access Facebook on JioPhone or other popular apps, put your worries to rest, and get a JioPhone right now. Facebook on JioPhone is a reality now and it will be available from tomorrow or 14 February 2018.

The Mukesh Ambani-led firm, in association with Facebook, has developed a new version of Facebook app that can be run on Jio KaiOS, a web based OS designed for JioPhone.

“This will open up Facebook for potential 50 Crore feature phone users in India,” Jio said in a statement.

The new Facebook on JioPhone offers a comprehensive Facebook experience, allowing people to connect with the people who matter most. It supports push notifications, video, and links to external content. The app is also optimized to successfully accommodate the cursor function on JioPhone and delivers a best-in-class performance for Facebook’s most popular features, such as News Feed and Photos.

“JioPhone is the world’s most affordable smartphone built with transformational technology especially for Indians to migrate from a feature phone to a smartphone. As promised, JioPhone will be home to the world’s leading applications, starting with Facebook. Jio, the world’s largest mobile data network, is built to empower every Indian with the power of data and JioPhone is an integral part of this Jio movement,” said Akash Ambani, Director, Jio.

“We are excited about our partnership with Jio and the opportunity to provide the best possible Facebook experience for millions of people using JioPhone,” said Francisco Varela, Vice President of Mobile Partnerships, Facebook. “Working with partners like Jio, we want to make sure everyone, everywhere has the opportunity to enjoy the benefits of being connected.”

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Google Launches 150 Google Station WiFi Hotspots In Pune Smart City


Google Wednesday announced that it had joined hands with Larsen & Toubro (L&T) for the Pune smart city project and set up 150 WiFi hotspots in the area. The hotspots called Google Station hotspots went live today and will be available at public places like gardens, hospitals and police stations, helping people get access to free Wi-Fi.

The search engine major had earlier rolled out similar wifi hotspots at Indian railway stations in partnership with RailTel.

The Railtel WiFi project, with its deployments at over 270 railway stations, had served  7.7 millions so far.  With Google Station, the company is moving beyond railway stations and focusing on new areas including smart cities.

The Google Station project is expected to serve 3 million Punekars who can now get online within seconds, to message friends, pay bills, shop online, watch music videos — and do millions of other things — at locations all around the city.

Vinay Goel, Product Management Director, Google Station said, “Today marks a big step for us as we expand Google Station hotspots from railways to cities. Our aim with Google Station is to to bring fast Wi-Fi to more users in more places within India. We built Google Station to be both the highest-quality and easiest Wi-Fi service for users and the easiest for partners to deploy — and we think this makes Station a great connectivity partner for the growing number of Indian smart cities. We’re looking forward to helping people in Pune get fast, simple and secure access to everything the internet has to offer.”

Public Wi-Fi alone, does not make a city “smart” and therefore with reliable Internet connectivity across multiple central locations, people can now use their smartphones to make the most out of Pune’s other smart city services, which includes improved tracking of public buses, opportunities for digital learning, and participation in digital governance.

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After US Adobe Achieves Gender Pay Parity In India

gender pay parity

Keeping  its promise of equalizing pay for its male and female employees, Adobe on Wednesday announced that it has achieved the goal of gender pay parity for its India employees. Earlier it had achieved the same for its US employees.

With India Adobe now bridged the gender wage gap across US and India, which comprises 80 percent of the company’s global workforce.

In September last year the company had said its closing the gap in India and the same would be achieved by early 2018.

In December 2017, Adobe announced it achieved equal pay in the US and committed to reaching gender pay parity in India by early 2018, its second largest employee base. India and the US comprise of around 80% of the company’s global workforce.

“At Adobe, our goal has always been to foster a diverse workforce and an inclusive workplace that fuels innovation and creativity, so all employees feel equally valued and respected. India has the second largest employee base for Adobe outside of the US, and we see reaching pay parity between men and women as an important milestone in our commitment towards building a work culture that thrives on equal growth opportunities for all. We are excited to further that same commitment to our employees globally this year,” said Donna Morris, Executive Vice President, Customer & Employee Experience, Adobe.

“Despite being one of the world’s fastest growing economies, the gender wage gap in India is a matter of concern and corrective measures to address this have been long overdue. At Adobe, we believe that employees perform best when put on a level footing and valued equally, and are proud to have achieved our goal of pay parity in India. We hope more companies here in India will invest in bringing parity to their employees as well,” said Abdul Jaleel, Vice President, Employee Experience, Adobe India.

Over the last year, Adobe undertook a review of its job structure and analyzed its compensation practices, and made adjustments to its existing people practices, including the use of gender-neutral job descriptions and targeted training to identify unconscious bias. Adobe India has also discontinued the practice of using a candidate’s prior remuneration to determine the starting salary offered, an important step to help counter the gender wage gap that candidates may have experienced in prior jobs.

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Nazara Technologies Acquires Nodwin Gaming


Esports and mobile gaming firm Nazara Technologies has acquired a majority stake of 55% in Nodwin Gaming,  another gaming company primarily into esports which is expected to have a user base of around 700 million in next four years.

EY acted as the exclusive financial advisor to the transaction.

“Through this acquisition we aim to provide Indian esports enthusiasts a robust player and community orientated esports ecosystem, in which players can thrive, improve their skills and become top competitors at an international level,” said Manish Agarwal, CEO, Nazara Technologies.

Nodwin, a 50:50 venture between Akshat Rathee, Gautam Virk and Jetsynthesys Pvt. Ltd., has spearheaded esports in India with established relationships with global gaming publishers and platforms including market leaders such as ESL (Turtle Entertainment, GMBH) and Valve Corporation.

Nazara, with its majority investment in Nodwin, is furthering its commitment of developing the esports ecosystem to enable competitive online & offline gaming, create localized leagues and cups and boost esports as spectator sports in India. The approach includes localized content creation around global events (ESL One, ESL Pro League, Intel Extreme Masters, The International by Valve, etc) and creating local events by bringing in sponsors. This will give a massive boost to the creation of world class esports athletes and players emerging from the Indian ecosystem.

According to, Nodwin Gaming, CEO and Managing Director, Akshat Rathee, “esports is one of the fastest growing sports worldwide. This acquisition by Nazara Games adds to the credibility of Nodwin and opens up a wide vista of opportunities for Indian esports players to build careers domestically and internationally. It strengthens our ability to provide our key stakeholders better experiences and bigger opportunities to engage with our community”

Rajan Navani, Vice Chairman and Managing Director, Jetsynthesys Pvt Ltd., added “Having worked closely with Akshat Rathee and Gautam Virk to build Nodwin Gaming to this level, we are pleased and excited about the future opportunity for all of us, that opens up with Nazara’s participation to help establish Nodwin as the clear leader in e-sports over the longer term”. For immediate publication

Nazara with its acquisition of Nodwin intends to leverage its investments in mobile and digital sports category to build Intellectual Properties in the esports space along with Nodwin in emerging markets across disciplines such as soccer, cricket and other traditional sports. Nazara’s existing investments in mobile gaming companies like Next Wave Multi Media, Mastermind Sports, Moong Labs and Hala play are in line with building a network of synergistic companies for operations in India and other emerging markets across Middle East, Africa and South East Asia.

The eSports market is growing at a fast pace as it becomes more and more popular around the world. The global eSports audience totaled 322 million in 2016, up 86 million since 2015. This number is likely have grown to almost 386 million in 2017 and will continue to increase rapidly, at a CAGR of 14.0%, reaching 665 million in 2021. The Indian eSports audience is still very small, with an estimated 2 million Enthusiasts and 2 million Occasional Viewers, but is expected to grow more than fivefold by 2021(Source: Industry Insights for Online and Mobile Gaming in India, Frost and Sullivan, January 2018]; (Source: Newzoo)

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RGK Mobile Enters India, Partners With Airtel, Vodafone And Idea


Spain based mobile payment and content aggregation firm RGK Mobile has expanded its business in to India and has partnered with three leading mobile operators in India including Bharti Airtel, Vodafone India and Idea Cellular.

Out of the three operators RGK has announced the partnership with Airtel only and announcements regarding the other two operators would follow soon.

The partnership is for direct billing of content that customers buy from their respective service providers. Whatever content the customers buy can now be billed directly to the operators’ system and that will reflect in the customer’s monthly bill. Customers do not need to provide any credit card or banking details with the operator or with RGK Mobile.

Through partnerships with content providers and by creating its own exclusive services, RGK Mobile delivers a diverse range of content—from music and video to games and sports, dating and health, fitness and more, all pre-approved and licensed for individual markets. RGK Mobile offers premium services that free the mobile operator from the burden of generating and managing mobile content, including technical integration, local content licensing, and traffic acquisition.

“We’re excited about our expansion into the major international market that India represents, and even more so to be partnering with a dynamic company like Airtel,” RGK Mobile CEO Roman Taranov says. “Airtel is more than Southeast Asia’s leading telecommunications company—it’s a real force in a vibrant country. We’re very pleased to be part of Airtel’s initiatives for advancing mobile technology by growing the nation’s telecom infrastructure.”

The mobile subscribers can now purchase RGK’s content services in a fully-secure process with just one click—with no forms to fill out or credit information to submit. Subscription requests go directly to the operator’s billing system, leveraging pre-populated subscriber data. This faster and easier process results in significantly higher subscriber conversion.

The partnership is a win-win situation for all the stake holders – RGK and the Indian telcos. The three operators that RGK Mobile has partnered in India represent close to 600 million subscribers and more than RGK’s all other customer base put together. On the other hand, for the Indian telcos, this is another way to retain their customers in the wake of stiff competition and falling revenue after the disruption by Reliance Jio.

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Smartron Takes Golfer Anirban Lahiri As Brand Ambassador

anirban lahiri

After cricket legend Sachin Tendulkar, another sports personality has joined the boards of technology firm Smartron. This time ace Indian golfer Anirban Lahiri joins the Hyderabad based IoT firm as its brand ambassador.

In return Smartron has signed a 5-year deal with the golfer as main sponsors for all his tournaments and will support Anirban as he continues his journey of making India proud at a global stage.

Lahiri is credited with a number of wins to his name- the best finish by an Indian when he tied for fifth place at the PGA Championship, being the first from his country to play in the Presidents Cup. In the last few years, Anirban has shot up the world rankings to secure a place for himself amongst the top golfers in the world. Arjuna Award winner Anirban Lahiri is the highest-ranked Indian golfer in the world with No 75 at the PGA Championship in 2017 and has 20 professional wins to his name.

Commenting on the partnership, Mahesh Lingareddy, Founder and Chairman, Smartron said, ‘We are delighted to welcome Anirban to the Smartron family, yet another Indian story that has been making global headlines. Anirban has gained a lot of popularity outside India as well including USA and Europe and makes a strong fit with Smartron’s brand promise of an Indian technology company with global ambitions. He represents ‘a pioneering spirit’ and ‘self-confidence’ with ‘Indianness” which is core to Smartron’s brand ethos.’

The brand had earlier brought on board another Indian and a global legend Sachin Tendulkar as brand ambassador and strategic shareholder. With this association, Smartron wants to bring alive Indian stories at the global stage from all walks of life, which is in line with Smartron’s vision of leading the effort to put India on the innovation map of the world through its powered tronX platform and ecosystem.

“I am excited to be partnering with Smartron, an innovative India based tech giant with a global vision. Was very impressed with the products, tronX platform, the whole ecosystem they are building and ideas for the future”, Anirban Lahiri said about the partnership.

The association will see Anirban working closely with Smartron to represent the brand and its products at a global stage.

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Moto G5S Plus Gets A Price Cut, Now available At Rs 14,999


Keeping the approaching New Year in mind Lenovo has slashed the price of Moto G5S Plus, one of the company’s flagship smartphones, by Rs 1000, thus bringing in to the fold of sub Rs 15,000 category. The Moto G5S Plus is now available for Rs 14,999.

The smartphone, with its new price tag will now be available for ₹ 14,999 exclusively on and Moto Hub stores across the country.

The smartphone features an all-metal unibody design and the Dual 13 MP + 13 MP rear cameras. The phone comes in a 5.5 inch full HD display with 1080×1920 resolution. The phone is powered by Qualacomm Snapdragon 2GHz octa core processor with 4GB RAM and 64 GB internal storage space. This space can be expanded up to 128 GB using micro SD cards. The Moto G5S plus boast a 8 MP wide-angle front camera with LED flash and a new panoramic mode so you can capture even more.

The phone carries a 3000mAh battery and the company claims it would offer a full days back up in a single charge. The smartphone also offer fast charging with its TurboPower technology that gives you up to 6 hours of battery life in just 15 minutes.


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1 Year of Nokia Phones and its 12 Big Baby Steps


On 1 December 2016, Nokia, once synonymous with mobile phones, announced its re-birth in the home of HMD Global – a Finnish company – after almost a deathly coma of 5 years. Since then, the mobile phone company has traveled a long path, mostly a difficult one, riddled with cut-throat competition and ever changing technologies corresponding to ever increasing consumer demands.

The technological craftsmanship of Nokia and its expertise in making mobile phones coupled with the agile and future-looking management of HMD Global, in this short span of just one year, has, however, proved Nokia is not destined to die till it has served the last customer in the earth.

While the phoenix celebrated its 1st birthday recently, we counted the 12 big baby steps the company has taken during this 12 months.

1st December 2016 – Re-entry of Nokia
Nokia announced its re-entry to mobile phone business on this day. HMD Global Oy (HMD), a Finnish company, has got the license to manage, manufacture and distribute the Nokia phones. It has got the license for next 10 years and the license included sale and distribution of its phones as well as tablets.

The strategy was very clear for HMD from the day one – the next generation phones would be based on the most popular user platform – Google Android; and the phones will be manufactured by world’s largest electronics manufacturing company – Foxconn.

“Driven by the extremely positive reception we have received since HMD was announced earlier this year, we are excited about building the next chapter for Nokia phones. We see this as a brilliant opportunity to solve real life consumer problems and to deliver on the quality and designs that the Nokia brand has been always known for,” HMD Global’s then CEO Arto Nummela had said.

The company has certainly wrote many new chapters since.

December 2016 – Launch of Nokia 150
Within two weeks of its re-entry to the mobile phone business, HMD Global launched the first series of Nokia feature phones – Nokia 150. The phone was also launched its dual SIM version.

The Nokia 150 had come all the essential features of a mobile phone plus some more. Weighing a little over 80 gram, the phone came with VGA camera with LED flash, storage provision up to 32 GB, torch light, FM radio, the popular Snake game and with a 1020 mAh battery.

The phone was priced $26 or around Rs 1800 in Indian currency.

January 2017 – Nokia 6 Launched

Couple of feature phones later and a month after its rebirth, HMD Global was ready with its first Android based smartphone – the Nokia 6. The phone was first launched in China and was made available only through Later the phone was also launched in other parts of the world including India.

Nokia 6 was an ambitious launch. No other smartphone company had launched its first smartphone model with 4GB RAM and 64 GB internal storage space. The Finnish major did that when the industry standard was 3GB RAM with varied internal storage provisions like 32 GB and 64 GB.

The 5.5 inch smartphone also came with Android Nougat, then the latest OS, and incorporated Dolby Atmos sound system – a premium in its category. The smartphone also featured 16 MP PDAF rear camera and 8 megapixel front camera. The aluminium unibody looked classy and elite.

February 2017 – Nokia 3310 Relaunched

Nokia 3310, probably the most recognizable, if not the most popular phones, was again launched by HMD Global at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. Boasting 22 hour talk time and standby time of more than a month, the Nokia 3310 was made available in four colors – Red, Yellow, Dark Blue and Grey. The phone was priced 49 Euros.

In the same event, at MWC 2017, the company also launched 2 more smartphones – Nokia 3, Nokia 5 and also announced the global availability of Nokia 6.

February 2017 – Snake Game Relaunched

It would be unbelievable if someone says he has not played the Snake game ever – probably the most popular game on a mobile phone. The game was relaunched in Nokia phones and also was made available to play on Facebook Instant Games.

“The Snake game was the most popular game in the history of Nokia phones, in fact the true origin of mobile gaming can be traced back to a Nokia handset released in 1997,” HMD Global’s CMO Pekka Rantala had said then.

July 2017 – HMD Partners Zeiss
Cameras becoming the differentiators in smartphones, manufacturers these days are  in a tight spot to find and partner with the best in the industry. HMD Global, however, did not find it difficult to find a right kind partner and joined hands with precision optics firm Zeiss. And the firms signed an exclusive agreement to support each other in developing the new optics technologies.

After partnering with Google and Foxconn, this was HMD’s third best partnership in its strategic direction.

July 2017 – Nokia 105 and 130 Launched

HMD added two more phones to its feature phone category – Nokia 105 and Nokia 130, while the former has been one of the best selling phones of the Finnish firm before embraced HMD. It had already sold more than 200 million 105s before the relaunch. Similarly, the Nokia 130 was designed for customers who need bit more than just a feature phone. The phone comes with a long lasting battery and 1.8 inch color screen and offers 44 hours of FM radio playback.

Both the phones come in single as well as dual SIM variants and priced between $14.5 to $21.5.

July 2017 – HMD CEO Arto Nummela Quits

Barely few days after the company’s global partnership with Zeiss, HMD Global’s CEO Arto Nummela decided to quit the company. What was tragic is the decision, it appears, was taken in a jiffy and the his departure from the company was made effective immediately.

Nummela was the man behind formation of HMD and he had played a key role in getting the Nokia license.

August 2017 – Nokia 8 Launched

HMD launched its latest smartphone Nokia 8 after almost a gap of 6 months. However, as they say patience pays, the device was worth the wait.

Nokia 8 came with many firsts. It was the first smartphone to be launched after its iconic CEO quit the company. Besides, this is first phone that came with Zeiss optics and coined a new term to selfies ‘Bothie’. What it essentially means is, the dual camera of the smartphone enables the user to capture both side of the story at the same time. In selfie, you take your own photo, in bothie, while taking your own photo, you can capture what the other person is doing at the same time. It was a good addition to the mundane camera tricks – like beautify and other filters.

In this new smartphone, the company introduced 360 audio. Featuring OZO Audio, the smartphone combines three microphones with exclusive Nokia acoustic algorithms to capture audio with immersive 360° spatial surround sound.

October 2017 – Nokia 7 Launched

While we do not understand the naming structure and logic behind the various models launched by HMD, the company launched the Nokia 7, 2 months after it launched Nokia 8. The phone was launched in China.

The 5.2 inch LTE smartphone comes with Qualcomm Snapdragon 630 mobile platform with 4GB RAM as well as 6GB RAM versions. The phone has got 16 MP primary camera and 5 MP front camera. Running on Android Nougat, the phone comes with a 3000 mAh battery.

October 2017- Florian Seiche Becomes HMD CEO

The board of directors appointed Florian Seiche as the next CEO. The post was vacant since Nummela quit the firm in July the same year. Florian, who has been serving as President of the company since its inception, has also been inducted in to the HMD Global Board. Along with him, company’s CMO Pekka Rantala has also been elevated as executive Vice President.

October 2017 – Nokia 2 Launched

HMD’s last smartphone of the year (most probably) the Nokia 2 was launched in India as a global launch. The entire top deck of the firm was present in India to announce the smartphone model that claimed to offer 2 days of battery back up with a single charge.

The 5 inch smartphone came with Qualcomm Snapdragon processor and is meant to be a mass market smartphone. It comes with 1 GB RAM and 8 GB internal storage space, 8 MP rear camera, 5 MP front camera and comes with 4100 mAh battery.

In the last 12 months, HMD Global has launched 6 smartphones and five feature phones and entered in to 80 markets. While we believe the company has great future as it commands an awareness of more than 95% of the global population, at the same time we sincerely hope the company does not repeat its mistakes – of not understanding customer needs and miss the pulse of the industry.

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