Airtel set to launch 4G smartphone for Rs 2500 before Diwali

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The talks, which are at advanced level, is about launching 4G phone at Rs 2,500 by Diwali to counter the upcoming Reliance Jio 4G Phone.

After Idea and Intex, now Airtel is working to launch its own 4G smartphone by Diwali.

Bundled plans with such a 4G smartphone would make a lot of difference as they will act as incentives for a consumer in a market where the average selling price of a 4G smart phone is Rs 11,000, said Faisal Kawoosa, senior analyst at Cybermedia Research. The telco would only allow users to download all apps from the Google Play Store. JioPhone will start coming in the market by September whose beta testing has already started, Reliance Jio earlier said.

Bharti Airtel that has ruled India's telecom market, it seems, is gradually losing ground as new entrant Reliance Jio with its lifetime free voice call and dirt cheap internet data packs has eaten into Airtel's revenues.

JioPhone demand is on the radar of Indian smartphone maker Micromax as it explores whether its feature phone lineup needs to be upgraded to support 4G networks. The report also hints that the phone could be manufactured by domestic handset makers-Lava and Karbonn. Telecoms will be depending on 4G networks for 40-45 percent of the total revenues as against 20-25 percent from 3G and 35-40 percent from 2G networks.

"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", a source working close to the matter told ET.

Along with the handset, it is also offering a monthly subscription fee of Rs 153 for unlimited voice and data.

After the massive success that Jio has seen over the past year onboarding millions of customers in record time, rival companies such as Airtel had to face the plight of losing subscribers. Adding to the excitement of the users the Jio TV app will give access to over 400 plus live television channels in over 15 languages, added report. Google declined to comment for this report. Airtel is expected to co-promote the handset with the device makers and it will not be subsidising the smartphone. Also, the other telecom companies are preparing to launch the 4G smartphone at a less price.



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