KOLKATA: Bharti Airtel has expanded its tie-up with homegrown handset makers – this time partnering with Intex Technologies – to unveil a clutch of affordable 4G smartphones with advanced features, effectively in the Rs 1,650 to Rs 4,400 range to combat Reliance Jio’s 4G VoLTE feature phone that comes for a refundable deposit of Rs 1,500.
Under the latest handset bundling pact, the Intex Aqua LIONS N1, the Aqua 4 and the Aqua S3 will be sold to Airtel customers for a cash down payment, on which the No 1 phone company will give cash-backs over three years on condition that those opting for these 4G devices would need to recharge their phones with a minimum pack every month over the next three years.
The Airtel-Intex pact is the Sunil Mittal-led telco’s third aggressive 4G smartphone offer under its ongoing ‘Mera Pehla 4G smartphone’ drive, aimed at bringing affordable bundled 4G phone options to the market. The market leader has already partnered with Karbonn Mobiles and Celkon to sell low-cost 4G devices to take on Jio’s low-cost featurephone.
“We are delighted to have Intex on board as a partner and their brand familiarity plus distribution reach will add to our affordable smartphone proposition and offer more choice to customers,” Ajai Puri, Chief Operating Officer (India and South Asia), Bharti Airtel, said in an official statement Wednesday.
Nidhi Markanday, Director, Intex Technologies, in turn, said the strategic tie-up with Airtel would “help Intex offer very affordable smartphones that will accelerate the shift of feature phone users to smartphone without pinching the pocket”.
Bharti Airtel said that in case a customer does not wish to opt for the bundled plan, he/she has the flexibility of doing recharges of any denomination and validity as per individual requirements. But to claim cash refund benefits recharges of a fixed sum would be mandatory over a defined span.