Airtel takes on Reliance JioPhone with Karbonn A40, ultra low-cost 4G smartphone
In a bid to compete with Reliance Jio's, rival Bharti Airtel on Wednesday announced the launch of a new smartphone in partnership with Karbonn Mobiles. Called the Karbonn A40, the smartphone is available for an "effective price" of ₹1,399. The market price of the phone is ₹3,499.
Just like the JioPhone, a customer needs to make a down payment of ₹2,899 for the 4G smartphone. The customer needs to make monthly recharges of ₹169 for continuous 36 months.
The customer will get a cash refund of ₹500 after 18 months and another ₹1000 after 36 months, taking the total cash benefit to ₹1500.
"In case the customer does not wish to opt for the ₹169 bundled plan, she/he has the flexibility of doing recharges of any denomination and validity as per individual requirements. However, to claim the cash refund benefit, recharges worth ₹3000 must be done within the first 18 months (to claim the first refund installment of ₹500) and another ₹3000 over the next 18 months (to claim the second refund installment of ₹1000)", said the company in a release.
Note that the customer doesn't need to return the device to Airtel or Karbonn at any point to claim the cash benefit.
After sales support for the devices will be provided by the handset manufacturers through their service network, said the company.
Karbonn A40: Specifications, features
The smartphone comes with a 4-inch display. It runs on Android 7.0 Nougat out-of-the-box and is powered by a 1.3Ghz processor coupled with 1GB of RAM.
The Karbonn A40 sports a 2-megapixel rear camera and 0.3-megapixel front-facing camera. Other key features of the smartphone include 4G, VoLTE, Bluetooth and GPS.
How's it different from the Reliance JioPhone
The Reliance JioPhone is essentially a smartphone in a feature phone form factor. The JioPhone is locked to Reliance's ecosystem, which means you rely on Jio apps such as JioTV and JioVoice and so on. Also, you miss out on key apps such as WhatsApp and Facebook. Since the Karbonn A40 is an Android phone, you get access to all the popular apps including Google's suite of apps such as Gmail, Google Maps, and so on.
More low-cost 4G VoLTE smartphones coming soon
Airtel says that it will be partnering with multiple mobile handset manufacturers to launch more affordable 4G phones at low prices, and match the price of a feature phone.
"The partnership between Airtel and Karbonn is part of Airtel's 'Mera Pehla 4G Smartphone' initiative, which is aimed at enabling every Indian to buy a 4G smartphone and get on to the digital superhighway," the company added.
State-run telecom operator BSNL earlier this week revealed plans to partner with handset companies to launch affordable phones bundled with data benefits from the telco.