Taking on Reliance Jio, government-owned Bharat Sanchar Nigam (BSNL) has launched a feature phone with fourth-generation technology (4G) in partnership with handset maker Micromax for Rs 2,200. "Connecting the last mile- to the Internet and relevant information - is an important part of the strategy for both BSNL and Micromax".
Jio had in July announced a 4G feature phone for Rs 1,500, returnable at the end of three years for a full refund.
Owing to the partnership with BSNL, the phone will let its buyers make "unlimited" voice calls as well use "unlimited" high-speed data at a nominal fee of Rs. 97 per month.
Clearly, BSNL's plan is way ahead of Reliance Jio's tariff plan of Rs. 153.
Coming to the feature phone, the Bharat 1 features a 2.4-inch QVGA display with a screen resolution of 320 x 240 pixels.
The Micromax Bharat 1 is powered by an entry-level Qualcomm Snapdragon processor that supports 4G VoLTE network. The feature phone is backed by a 512MB of RAM and 4GB of internal storage, which can be further expandable via micro SD card slot. On the photography front, it features a 2-megapixel rear facing camera and a VGA selfie snapper. To grab this smart feature phone, customers will need to make a down payment of Rs. 2,899 for the handset, and then make a minimum amount of recharges over three years to receive Rs. 1,500 cashbacks, giving the phone an "effective price" of Rs. 1,399. It will support 4G VoLTE and 22 languages. Micromax is calling it 'Desh ka 4G phone', and says it will be available from retail stores starting Friday, October 20.
Having said that, the Micromax Bharat 1 4G VoLTE Feature Phone will compete with the likes of Reliance JioPhone and Airtel 4G Smartphone. Bharat 1 will be completely manufacture in India.
With "Bharat 1", Micromax and BSNL are aiming to provide a 4G phone to India's 500 million population that does not have access to the Internet. During the launch, the company said that the Bharat 1 is a completely Made in India phone. "We are confident that Bharat-1 will help millions of users experience data and calling experience like never before", Anupam Srivastava, Chairman and Managing Director, BSNL, said.