Airtel to challenge Jio with Rs 2500 4G smartphone

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Airtel's net profit slumped from Rs 1,319 crore reported in March 2016 to Rs 373 crore reported in May 2017.

Also Read: JioPhone vs Intex Turbo 4G + vs Idea-Vodafone's planned Rs 2500 4G phone: Worth the deal? This is still a whole thousand rupees dearer than the JioPhone, however, the offering from Airtel is expected to feature some capabilities that that Jio might not offer.

Airtel is going to introduce a 4G enabled smartphone for approximately Rs. 2,500 with lots of data and voice packs during the time of Diwali in India.

Jio and Airtel are in a battle for targeting the 500-million market of feature phone users who can not afford a 4G smartphone.

Intex, which is known for making budget phones in India, has also joined the 4G feature phone bandwagon by launching its first 4G-VoLTE feature phone called Turbo+ 4G.

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The 4G device, which will be co-promoted by India's top telco and the handset maker but not subsidised by Airtel, will be based on the popular Android operating system.

Another set of reports claim that advanced talks are on with some leading smartphone makers, who would be collaborating with Airtel for rolling out these cheap 4G handsets. This is priced slightly higher than the JioPhone which was launched last month at Rs 1500.

"It (Airtel's 4G device) could be a bit democratic because the VoLTE feature phones (JioPhone) being launched are closed loop (with operator Jio), while the smartphone on Android leaves the choice open for users", Kawoosa added. Not only the company dropped its tariffs by 91% since the launch of Reliance Jio, the decision to get involved in the mobile handset business is a clear indication how desperate the company is to keep its market share secured. Although, Jio phone prices will be lower than Airtel smartphones, Airtel is betting that 4G smartphones will provide a better consumer experience through a bigger screen, better camera and battery besides giving access to all the Google apps. 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.

So far WhatsApp has not officially commented on the report, which talked about the app coming to JioPhone. And, other telcos have already begun preparing to counter the move. Airtel is the largest telecommunications company in the country.

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