With their "Bharat-1" device, Micromax and BSNL say they aim at providing an affordable 4G phone option to the 500-plus million without an internet unconnection.
While the Reliance JioPhone has some major disadvantages such as SIM card lock and refund policy, Micromax Bharat 1 doesn't come with any such caveats. Unlike the Jio Phone though, the Bharat-1 is not locked to a particular network. The BSNL Rs. 97 tariff plan offers unlimited voice calls, free roaming, unlimited SMS and data to its users. After two years, the cost of ownership for BSNL will be Rs 4,528 as compared to Rs 5,172 of Jio's and after three years, goes the claim, BSNL's ownership cost will be Rs 5,692 as against Rs 6008 in the Jio phone if kept by the customer.
The featurephone, which comes at a slightly higher price competition to Reliance Industries JioPhone, runs on a open source version of Android and has Micromax's own browser and entertainment services like Live TV, music and videos in partnership with Zenga. As said earlier, there is no network lock issues over here, which is a huge plus point for the feature phone.
The Micromax Bharat 1 is powered by an entry-level Qualcomm Snapdragon processor that supports 4G VoLTE network. The chipset is accompanied with 512MB of RAM and 4GB of internal storage. In terms of optics, the "Made in India" Bharat 1 features a 2MP rear-facing camera and a VGA camera up front. The Micromax Bharat 1 is priced at Rs. 2,200. This package is backed by a 2000mAh battery. "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. Connecting the last mile- to the Internet and relevant information - is an important part of the strategy for both BSNL and Micromax. Data affordability, connectivity and ease of using technology are the three barriers for the users to get a connected experience.
Other features on the Bharat-1 include music/video player, FM Radio, Alphanumeric keypad, torchlight, a 3.5 mm headphone jack, internet browsing, ringtones, phone contact and much more. Hopefully, the company will achieve this deal with the help of BSNL.
According to Rahul Sharma, co-founder, Micromax Informatics, the Bharat 1 phone will cost customers less than JioPhone down the line.
In the future, Vodafone and Idea Cellular are also slated to come with their respective affordable feature phones and smartphones.
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