Airtel took its time, but finally it has acted. On Wednesday, the company responded to the challenge posed by the JioPhone. It came out with its own cheap smartphone, offered in partnership with Karbonn. The phone is a smartphone, with support for 4G, unlike the JioPhone that is a feature phone with some smart features inbuilt. In other words, the Airtel phone will run WhatsApp, Facebook and YouTube whereas the JioPhone will probably have better battery life and may even have better performance due to its unique software.
This comes nearly 3 months after Jio launched the JioPhone. Although JioPhone was announced in July, it has started reaching the market and people only now. And now is when Airtel is responding to it. But this piece is not about the JioPhone vs Karbonn A40, which Airtel is offering for Rs 1399 (effective price). That comparison the India Today Tech will explain in a while. For now let's see what is the Airtel offer, what is the Karbonn A40 and how do you get it.
The A40 effectively for Rs 1399 is part of Airtel's Mera Pehla Phone offer. "The partnership between Karbonn and Airtel is part of Airtel'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. Karbonn is the first Indian handset player to lead the bandwagon," said a spokesperson.
-- You will have to buy the A40 Indian -- yes, that is the full name of the phone -- from Airtel at a price of Rs 2899. This is a pretty decent price for the phone, but not exactly something that will make you go wow. In comparison, to get the JioPhone you have to pay Rs 1500 security fee, which is then refunded after 36 months making the phone effectively free.
-- In the similar way, you are also paying some refundable charges for the A40, although Airtel doesn't call it security fee. In the Rs 2899, the company includes Rs 1500 that it will refund after you have used the A40 for 36 months, or in other words 3 years. This makes the effective price of A40, Rs 1399.
-- But there are differences between the JioPhone and the A40 and how the refund process works. With JioPhone you will get the money back only if you give the device back to Jio. With Airtel's A40 offer, that is not the case. You will get the money back and you will also keep the phone.
-- Also-- this is something not made by clear currently -- with JioPhone you will get cash or credit back. With Airtlel's A40 Indian offer, the money will go back into the Airtel Payment Bank account.
-- Consumers will get a cashback of Rs 500 after they have used the A40 for 18 months and have totalled recharges for at least Rs 3000 during this period.
-- Additional Rs 1000 cashback will be given to consumers once they have used the A40 with an Airtel plan for another 18 months and have totalled recharges for at least Rs 3000 in this period.
-- The cashback will be credited to the a user's Airtel Payment Bank account. Airtel says that even after getting the cashback you don't need to return the phone.
-- One important bit to note is that consumers will have to use Airtel's Rs 169 plan (at minimum) with A40. This plan will give users unlimited free calls, unlimited STD calls and 512MB 4G data per day for 28 days. Of course, all of this is subjected to fair use. In other words, if you abuse the free SDT calls feature, Airtel may start charging you for calls or limit the functionality. This is similar to the terms and conditions that govern the JioPhone use.
-- The A40 is a phone with 4-inch display. It has a resolution of 800 X 480 pixels.
-- The A40 has two cameras: a 2-megapixel camera on the rear and a 0.3-megapixel camera on the front.
-- The A40 has 1GB RAM and 8GB internal storage. Yes, it supports microSD card.
-- There is 1400 mAh battery inside the A40. Dual-SIM is supported so you can use both Airtel and Jio SIM inside the A40.
-- The processor inside the A40 runs at the speed of 1.3MHz and it is most likely made by MediaTek.