Airtel offers 4G smartphone in partnership with Karbonn at Rs1,399

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At the time, the telecom operator had kept mum on the pricing of its ultra low-priced 4G phone, but reports suggested the phone to come with a price tag upwards of Rs 2,500.

Bharti Airtel on Wednesday reported its association with handset manufacturer Karbonn Mobiles to offer a 4G phone at a reasonable cost of Rs 1,399. The Airtel plan comes just when billionaire Mukesh Ambani -led Reliance Jio has started delivering to pre-booked customers a low-priced 4G-enabled smart feature phone on payment of a one-time refundable deposit of Rs 1,500. Unlike the Jio, the Airtel can make calls and access internet even in the areas without the 4G network. Airtel has said that it is only the first of the several partnerships planned with handset makers to manufacture bundled 4G smartphones. The Karbonn A40 Indian is available to buy from retail stores across India.

Airtel also suggests that this smartphone is first of many partnerships, and it will join hands with other smartphone manufacturers as well to offer smartphones at the price of a feature phone.

The partnership brings an "affordable" 4G smartphone to the market "effectively at the price of a feature phone", Airtel said.

You will not need to return the phone at any point to be eligible for the cash refund.

The Google certified smartphone will be given to the customer at a down payment of Rs 2,899.

Initially, the customers are required to make a down payment of Rs2,899 and, thereafter, make 36 continuous monthly recharges of Rs169. This takes the total to Rs 1,500 and takes the device's effective price down from Rs 2,899 to Rs 1,399. "However, to claim the cash refund benefit, recharges worth Rs 3000 must be done within the first 18 months (to claim the first refund installment of Rs 500) and another Rs 3000 over the next 18 months (to claim the second refund installment of Rs 1000)", said the company in a release.

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In terms of specs, it compares favourably to the JioPhone.

Karbonn A40 Indian is powered by a 1.3 Ghz processor with 1GB RAM and 8GB ROM. The phone has a full 4-inch touch screen along with dual SIM slots. It comes with a 2-megapixel camera on the rear and a 0.3-megapixel camera on the front.

The phone comes with bundled offers from Airtel.

However, the biggest win that Airtel gets here is when it comes to the OS.

The answer to that question boils down really to what you want from your affordable 4G phone.

Couple of months back Jio had introduced a similar offer with JioPhone where the customers need to pay a security deposit of Rs 1500 to own a 4G phone and the money will be refunded to the users after 3 years. And it's your call. The connectivity option includes Bluetooth, Wi-fi 802.11. There is a dual SIM option and all applications on the Google Play Store can be downloaded to it. Facebook, youtube, and WhatsApp will run smoothly on the phone. "This is yet another step in our ongoing journey to deeply understand customers and bring innovation that delights them", Raj Pudipeddi, director, Consumer Business & CMO, Bharti Airtel said.

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