Airtel announces 4G smarthphone for an effective price of ₹1399

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Airtel counters JioPhone with smartphone at Rs 1399 net price

In its press statement announcing the initiative, Airtel was quick to point out that Karbonn A40 Indian (and the other smartphones it intends to include) have access to the Google Play store, and popular apps such as Facebook, WhatsApp, and YouTube, something the Jio Phone has been criticised to be missing.

This is an affordable 4G smartphone at the price of a feature phone, the company claimed.

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.

In order to avail the subsidized 4G smartphone, customer needs to make a down payment of Rs 2899 for and he/she has to make 36 continuous monthly recharges of Rs 169. Airtel will provide total cash benefit to Rs1,500-Rs500 will be given after 18 months and another Rs1,000 after 36 months.

Those not opting for the Rs 169 plan need to do recharges worth Rs 3,000 in the first 18 months and another Rs 3,000 over the next 18 months. Alternatively, one can recharge vouchers worth Rs 3000 in first 18 months and he can get a Rs 500 refund. It is also touting the dual-SIM slots and full touchscreen experience.

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Jio's disruptive pricing has upended the telecom industry because of which profits of incumbents such as Bharti Airtel and Idea Cellular Ltd have shrunk rapidly.

The offer says a customer can get an Airtel bundled smartphone at an effective price of Rs 1399.

The phone will be available on all leading retail stores across the country and after-sales service will be provided by Karbonn mobiles.

With Rs. 169 monthly subscription, the user will be able to enjoy unlimited phone calls and 500MB data per day for the whole month. This is directly in response to Reliance Jio and their 4G feature phone, JioPhone, that has begun shipping to millions of customers at an effective price of Rs 1,500.

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. However, the cashback will be deposited in your Airtel Payments Bank account. Whereas in Airtel 4G phone plan, there are extra charges for SMS usage and for extra data beyond 500 MB.

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The feature phone will have 4G network connectivity options.

Karbonn A40 Indian is powered by a 1.3 Ghz processor with 1GB RAM and 8GB ROM.

Raj Pudipeddi, Director - Consumer Business & CMO, Bharti Airtel said, "As the market leader and pioneer of 4G services in India, Airtel's aspiration is to digitally empower every Indian with high speed data access". It offers 8 GB of storage with an option to expand storage up to 32GB. It is backed by a 1,400 mAh battery.

He said, "We plan to partner with multiple manufacturers to bring affordable smartphone options to the market and build an "open ecosystem" of low-priced devices".

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