State-run telecom operator, Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd. (BSNL) is looking to partner with domestic mobile brands such as Micromax and Lava to launch a co-branded feature phone around Rs. 2,000. This rumoured feature phone will come with attractive bundled tariff plans, and the launch might happen in October.
“Our strategy is away from procurement. We are trying to come up with our own bundled phone equipment and in about a month time, you will see co-branded feature phones with various manufacturers will come,” BSNL chairman Anupam Shrivastava told to Economic Times.
Speaking about the collaboration with domestic phone makers, Shrivastava said: “We are tying up with device makers such as Lava and Micromax to come up with own model of co-branded bundled feature phones with very aggressive voice packages.”
It is also said that the price of this feature phone is yet to be finalised, but it would be close to Rs. 2,000 as per the top executive. The feature phone will also offer free voice calls.
BSNL is having a decent time in the Indian telecom market. While other top private operators such as Bharti Airtel, Vodafone India, and Idea Cellular are struggling to tackle the newcomer Reliance Jio, BSNL is going neck-to-neck with Reliance Jio with its luring and attractive tariff plans.
Having said that, this deal should be equally important to the handset makers- Micromax and Lava because their market share has gone down drastically in recent times, thanks to the emergence of Chinese brands in the country.
BSNL is considering this move to counter the Mukesh Ambani-led Reliance Jio which recently launched the affordable 4G VoLTE feature phone, the JioPhone. However, BSNL's feature phone will not be a 4G supported one because the telecom operator is yet to offer 4G services in the Indian market. Leading telecom operator, Bharti Airtel is also considering the same move of partnering with mobile brands and launch a co-branded affordable 4G VoLTE smartphone with attractive and luring tariff plans.
Airtel is rumoured to launch the same smartphone by this Diwali, whereas BSNL is claimed to announce its co-branded feature phone in October.