The intense competition in the Indian telecom sector moved a notch higher with Airtel, India’s biggest telecom operator launching a 4G smartphone at an effective price of Rs. 1,399 to counter new-comer Reliance Jio, which aims to grab a bigger pie of the 50 crore feature phone users market in India with its low-cost Jio Phone. Airtel has partnered with domestic handset manufacturer Karbonn to offer Karbon A40 4G smartphone at an effective price of Rs. 1,399 compared to its current market price of Rs. 3,499. The smartphone comes bundled with a monthly pack of Rs. 169 from Airtel, which offers “generous data and calling benefits”.

How the Airtel 4G smartphone offer works

Those interested to avail the offer have to make a down payment of Rs. 2,899 for the 4G smartphone and make 36 continuous monthly recharges of Rs. 169 following which, they will get a cash refund of Rs. 500 after 18 months and another Rs. 1,000 after 36 months, making the effective cost of the 4G smartphone Rs. 1,399.

In case the customer does not wish to opt for the Rs. 169 bundled plan, he has an option of recharging the phone with any denomination and validity as per individual requirements. However, to claim the cash refund benefit, recharges worth Rs. 3,000 must be done within the first 18 months (to claim the first refund installment of Rs. 500) and another Rs. 3,000 over the next 18 months (to claim the second refund installment of Rs. 1,000).

However, unlike JioPhone, customers do not need to return the smartphone to Airtel/Karbonn at any point of time to claim the cash refund, Airtel said in a release.

How to avail the offer

The phone will be available at leading mobile stores across the country, said Airtel. After sales support for the devices will be provided by the handset manufacturers through their service network, Airtel added. Airtel said the partnership with Karbonn is part of it’s ‘Mera Pehla 4G Smartphone’ initiative, which is aimed at enabling every Indian to buy a 4G smartphone and get on to the digital superhighway. Under the ‘Mera Pehla 4G Smartphone’ initiative, Airtel will partner with multiple mobile handset manufacturers to create an ‘open ecosystem’ of affordable 4G smartphones and bring them to market for virtually the price of a feature phone, said the company.