With the festive season at the door, Micromax and State-owned telecom operator BSNL launched their first 4G VoLTE feature phone to rival the Reliance Jio’s Jio Phone. The device named as Bharat 1 is targeted for the people of India who don’t have a proper Internet connection. However, the thing is we don’t have to return the phone after using it for three years, unlike the JioPhone.
Similar to the JioPhone the Bharat 1 is a 4G VoLTE enabled dual-SIM feature phone. The “Pataka Phone” (as referred by Micromax) sports a 2.4-inch (320 x 240 pixels) QVGA display and is powered by a Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 205 chipset. Along with that, we get a minimum 512MB RAM and 4 GB internal storage which is expandable by micro SD. The device is backed by a 2000mAh battery and features two cameras: 2 MP on the back and VGA shooter for video calling at front.
The Bharat 1 supports 22 different languages and comes bundled with the BHIM (Bharat Interface for Money) app with support for net banking, and access to the BSNL app. According to Micromax co-founder Rahul Sharma, It also has access to Live TV containing 100 channels, movies and music though it will not be enjoyable on a small screen like it. The device is also entirely manufactured in India. He also said “Both Micromax and BSNL have been working with an aim to bring the next wave of unconnected users on the Internet. We will now take this vision forward with Bharat 1 and create a compelling proposition for the users that is a first in the category.”
BSNL is also offering tremendous value for money packs with the phone. At Rs. 97 tariff plan we are getting unlimited call and internet services. Comparing with the JioPhone its minimum recharge plan is of Rs 153. One huge advantage is that we can install SIM of different telecom operators on the Bharat 1 whereas on the Jio Phone we are restricted to only Jio network. So, technically we can use a Jio SIM on the Bharat 1 phone. Anupam Srivastava, CMD of BSNL said “We are proud that we are partnering with Micromax, a home-grown player who has been a key player in India’s growth journey and has contributed more than 150 million mobile users and this number is ever increasing, Connecting the last mile– to the Internet and relevant information – is an important part of the strategy for both BSNL and Micromax. We are confident that Bharat 1 will help millions of users experience the data and calling experience like never before.”
Sharma mentioned that the Bharat 1 phone would cost customers less than Jio Phone down the line. First year’s effective cost of Bharat 1 and Jio Phone is Rs. 3,364 and Rs. 3,336. However, if a customer uses a Bharat 1 phone for two years, they will only have to pay Rs. 4,528 compared to Jio Phone’s Rs. 5,172. Using three years would cost customers of Bharat 1 and Jio Phone Rs. 5,692 and Rs. 6,008. Thus the Bharat 1 proved superior in the long run.
The device will face competition from both phone makers and the telecom operators. Reliance Jio’s “free” phone will resume the pre-orders later this year. This year another device was launched with a partnership between Bharti Airtel and Karbonn Mobiles. However the company priced the Karbonn A40 Indian smartphone at Rs. 1,399, but customers are required to pay an additional down payment of Rs. 2,899. The ‘Desh ka 4G phone’ will likely be the best 4G feature phone.
The Micromax BSNL Bharat 1 comes in a Black colour variant and is priced at Rs 2,200. The device will be available in the retail stores from October 20.