Airtel partners Karbonn to take on Jio with Rs 1399 smartphone

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Airtel and Idea offer new plans to counter Jio

Indian telecom operator Bharti Airtel has selected Karbonn Mobiles to launch affordable 4G smartphone in India.

Airtel's calling the scheme the "Mera Pehla 4G Smartphone" or "My First Smartphone" initiative, with lofty aims of enabling every Indian to buy a 4G smartphone. But you can claim the cash refund only if your recharges are worth Rs. 3000 within first 18 months and Rs. 3000 over the next 18 months.

However, to claim the cash refund benefit, recharges worth Rs 3000 must be done within the first 18 months (to claim the first refund installment of Rs 500) and another Rs 3000 over the next 18 months (to claim the second refund installment of Rs 1000).

It also comes with Dual SIM slots and support for VoLTE.

Reliance Jio said the "effective price" of its JioPhone was 'Rs 0.' Later the company's terms and conditions pointed out that customers would have to pay almost Rs 6,000 for the free JioPhone.

So, basically the customer needs to spend Rs 8983 (Rs 2899 for phone and Rs 6084 for recharges) to own the Karbonn A40 India phone and use Airtel services over next 3 years.

The offer says a customer can get an Airtel bundled smartphone at an effective price of Rs 1399. Instead of a new and affordable feature phone, the company today announced a new smartphone in partnership with Karbonn mobiles.

While Airtel mentions users can make recharges of any denomination, the company is offering a bundled plan of Rs. 169 per month to ostensibly simply the eligibility.

Airtel will be competing with Reliance Jio and BSNL in the 4G phone space.

While the JioPhone has to be returned to get the Rs. 1,500 cashback, the Airtel 4G Phone users keep the device with them even after claiming the cashback amount. "This is yet another step in our ongoing journey to deeply understand customers and bring innovation that delights them", Raj Pudipeddi, Director - Consumer Business & CMO, Bharti Airtel, said in a statement.

In places like the U.S., a subscriber is prevented from "running away" or "jailbreaking" the subsidized phone as doing so will impact his or her credit rating, which is required to take any kind of loans in the future. Whereas in Airtel 4G phone plan, there are extra charges for SMS usage and for extra data beyond 500 MB. As for specifications, the A40 Indian gets a 4 -inch touch screen and it runs Android 7.0 Nougat. Reliance Jio has already launched its 4G feature phone. Under the hood, the device is powered by a 1.3 GHz unknown quad-core SoC, paired with 1 GB LPDDR3 RAM and 8 GB onboard flash storage with a dedicated micro SD card up to 32 GB. The device extracts power from a 1,400mAh battery. 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. The storage can be expanded additionally up to 32GB via a MicroSD card slot.

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