India's leading telecom operator, Bharti Airtel is reportedly in advanced talks with handset makers for launching a 4G smartphone priced around Rs. 2,500. Airtel is looking to announce this smartphone around Diwali, with bundled data and voice minutes. This move will put Airtel in competition with the new entrant Reliance Jio's JioPhone.
A report from Economic Times says that the device will be co-promoted by Bharti Airtel and the handset maker, but Airtel will not subsidise the smartphone. "Telco will allow users to download all apps available on the Google Play app store," says the report. It is also cited that the launch of the phone will happen around September or October this year.
“Airtel is talking to some handset manufacturers to bring in a smartphone around Rs 2,500, which will have a bigger screen, better camera and better battery performance than what a feature phone could offer,” a senior industry executive aware of Airtel’s plans said. “Discussions are at a very advanced stage,” a person familiar with the matter said to the publication.
Further, handset makers such as Lava and Karbonn are confirmed to be in separate talks with Airtel for a mass-market 4G smartphone. “We don’t comment on market speculation,” a spokesperson for Bharti Airtel said.
Lastly, this 4G smartphone from Airtel will run Android OS, which will allow the company to garner further popularity.
For the unaware, Mukesh Ambani-led Reliance Jio Infocomm recently announced India's smartest feature phone ever, the JioPhone. The JioPhone is yet to be available for public purchase, which is scheduled for the first half of September. The pre-bookings for JioPhone will start from August 24.
With the JioPhone, Reliance Jio is looking to increase its subscriber base and aiming to bring 4G to villages and small towns. The JioPhone's highlight is the support for 4G VoLTE and the price tag of Rs. 1,500 (security deposit, to be precise).
Will the Airtel's 4G smartphone able to compete with Reliance JioPhone? Let us know by commenting below.