India’s largest telecom company Bharti Airtel Ltd has collaborated with Karbonn Mobile India Pvt. Ltd to launch an affordable 4G phone and provide an alternative to Reliance Jio Infocomm Ltd’s JioPhone. The smartphone will have cashback benefits and come bundled with a monthly recharge pack. Airtel has said that effective price of the phone will be Rs 1,399. The Karbonn phone is currently available in the market at a price of Rs 3,499 and its price will be slashed down soon.
Announcing the move, chief marketing officer of Bharti Airtel, Raj Pudipeddi said, “As the market leader and pioneer of 4G services in India, Airtel’s aspiration is to digitally empower every Indian with high speed data access. We are delighted to partner with Karbonn to remove barriers to smartphone adoption and enable millions of Indians to leapfrog to a full touchscreen smartphone experience. We plan to partner with multiple manufacturers to bring affordable smartphone options to the market and build an ‘open ecosystem’ of low cost devices. This is yet another step in our ongoing journey to deeply understand customers and bring innovation that delights them.”
The announcement comes almost three months after Reliance Jio introduced its 4G-enabled feature phone which is essentially free for consumers at a security deposit of Rs 1,500 refundable after three years. The company has sold six million Jio phones till date. Airtel has said that for Karbonn phone, consumers will have to make a down payment of Rs 2,899 followed by 36 continuous monthly recharges of Rs 169. Buyers will get a cash refund of Rs 500 after 18 months and another Rs 1,000 after 36 months. It must be noted that consumers will not have to return the handset to Airtel or Karbonn at any point to claim the cash benefit. The 4G smartphone will be Android-based and offer a full touch screen experience, dual SIM slots as well as access to popular apps like YouTube, WhatsApp, and Facebook.