Sunil Mittal-led Bharti Airtel on Monday partnered with Indian handset maker Celkon to launch a low cost 4G smartphone at an effective price of Rs 1,349 to take on JioPhone. The new phone is the country’s largest telecom operator’s second such phone to counter billionaire Mukesh Ambani-led Reliance Jio’s phone.
A few weeks ago, Airtel tied up with Karbonn Mobiles to make 4G smartphones at an effective cost of Rs 1,399. As new entrant Reliance Jio announced an Internet-enabled feature phone for a refundable deposit of Rs 1,500, incumbent telecom operators are lining up their own bundled offers. Last week, Vodafone India partnered with mobile handset firm Micromax to launch a 4G smartphone at an ‘effective price’ of Rs 999.Read more ↓
Airtel’s latest offering, the Celkon Smart 4G under its ‘Mera Pehla Smartphone’ initiative, comes with a 4-inch touchscreen, dual SIM slots and FM radio. The Android device has access to all apps on Google Play Store, including YouTube, Facebook and WhatsApp, the company statement said. The phone comes bundled with Airtel monthly pack of Rs 169. The offer requires a customer to make a down payment of Rs 2,849 for the 4G smartphone (market price Rs 3,500) followed by 36 monthly recharges of Rs 169.
The cash refund of Rs 500 can be availed after 18 months and an additional Rs 1,000 after 36 months. Those who do not want the Rs 169 bundled plan can recharge their phone for any denomination and validity according to their needs. However, one can claim the first refund instalment of Rs 500 only when recharges worth Rs 3,000 are made in the initial 18 months.
For the second refund instalment of Rs 1,000, the user will have to recharge for another Rs 3,000 in subsequent 18 months. Airtel said the user will own the device throughout. Airtel director (consumer business and CMO), Raj Pudipeddi, said the partnership with Celkon is a part of the company’s effort to build an “open ecosystem” of low-cost devices. “Celkon has deep distribution in southern Indian markets.” The company is looking to bring more device partners on-board in the near future, he added.
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