Airtel has come up with a really good news this season. The country’s largest telecom operator, in terms of subscriber base, is at an advanced stage of talking with the handset makers to introduce a 4G smartphone for Rs.2,500. This smartphone, which in all probability will be launched in Diwali, will enlist large amounts of data and voice minutes. Speculations are on the rift that this step by Airtel is to counter Reliance Jio and retaining a major share of the mass market.
This 4G device will be further co-promoted by India’s top telco and the handset maker, and will be based on the popular Android operating system, but not subsided by Airtel. The sources close to this happening also stated that this Telco will allow users to download all apps available on the Google Play app store and is scheduled for a launch around September end or Early October.
A senior executive of the company also stated that this new smartphone will have a bigger screen, better camera and a higher battery performance than any other simple feature phone could offer.
Now, in lieu to this, handset makers Lava and Karbonn have confirmed about being held in separate talks with the telecom market leader for a mass-market 4G smartphone. However, Bharti Airtel has confirmed that they don’t comment on market speculation.
Competing with Jio:
Now, both the honchos are targeting the 500 million feature phone users who still haven’t shifted to smartphones due to reasons of affordability or the lack of express need. So, Airtel is trying to keep up to protect its share against competition from Jio in this price sensitive but large market.
Talking Of Reliance Jio, they are offering a tough competition with its 4G VoLTE feature phone, locked with a Jio SIM and effectively free of Tariffs-a Rs. 1,500 deposit is refundable to the users after three years.
Along with this, the monthly subscription of Rs.153 assures unlimited voice and data, allowing access to the Internet and pre-loaded Jio apps, Including live TV, cinema, music, Facebook, YouTube, and WhatsApp. The probable date for the launch of Jio Phone is scheduled for September.
However, in responding to this, Tarun Pathak, associate director at Hong Kong-based Counterpoint Research, regarded that “If true, Airtel’s strategy has the potential to disrupt the market because, at the moment, there isn’t a 4G smartphone with good specs at Rs 2,500”.
Also, this latest device by Airtel offers freedom to use any operator while the VoLTE feature phones by JioPhone are a closed loop with no option for other operators.
Lastly, as per Faisal Kawoosa, senior analyst at Cybermedia Research, this 4G smartphone priced so cheaply will definitely work as a customer incentive as the average selling price of a 4G smartphone is Rs.11,000.