After Idea Cellular, Airtel is now in talks with smartphone manufacturers to partner on affordable smartphones. Airtel, India’s largest telecom operator is up for battle with the JioPhone by releasing its own affordable smartphone.
While Airtel prepares for this smartphone, likely to be priced at Rs. 2,500, the telco is not on the tracks of subsidizing their device, reported Economic Times. This affordable smartphone will reportedly come with bundled offers from Airtel and is anticipated to release this Diwali. Idea, for its part, had also revealed plans to launch an affordable Rs. 2,500 smartphone.
While it is not exactly Airtel Smartphone, it will be a smartphone co-promoted by Airtel. According to Economic Times, this will be an Android smartphone which would allow you to access all apps from the Play Store.
In a statement, a senior industry official said,
“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. Discussions are at a very advanced stage,”
While ET’s sources at Lava and Karbonn have confirmed that both companies are in separate talks with Airtel about an affordable 4G Smartphone, their spokespersons declined to comment.
We can anticipate the phone to launch around Diwali with an affordable price tag of around Rs. 2,500. Idea Cellular is also anticipated to be in talks with OEMs to market a phone with similar bundled plans.
JioPhone is a 4G feature phone from Reliance Jio. It comes with bundled data offers and unlimited calls. Priced at a fully refundable amount of Rs. 1,500, the JioPhone is practically free because the money you pay can be refunded after 3 years upon returning the handset.
Although making a smartphone at Rs. 2,500 may be a challenge, if Airtel pulls it off, a smartphone might eventually be able to penetrate the Indian feature phone market and upgrade feature phone users to Android.
Indian Market turning to American Market?
In the American smartphone market, there are multiple network carriers like AT&T, T-Mobile, Verizon, and Sprint. Many smartphone manufacturers make carrier-exclusive devices to substantially cut costs of the device as well as the network plan.
The JioPhone also is similar to this scenario to some extent. The phone will only work on Jio’s network. On the other hand, Airtel and Idea are looking at offering a dual SIM phone that works with other GSM networks as well. This is an interesting strategy to counter the JioPhone, one that may work given that Airtel and Idea’s phone will run on Android.
However, how the market responds to the JioPhone and the Airtel, Idea phones remains to be seen.