After JioPhone, Airtel looks to partner with phone makers for 4G enabled feature phones
- Airtel has confirmed it will partner with phone makers to manufacture 4G feature phones.
- JioPhone will support only Jio SIM cards, leaving out other operators' SIM cards.
- 4G feature phone manufacturing is expected to accelerate in Q3, Q4 this year.
India’s telecom major, Bharti Airtel has confirmed that it will be looking to partner with phone makers to roll out 4G enabled feature phones shortly after Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance Jio announced the launch of its 4G VoLTE feature phones – JioPhone last week.
The telecom operator will work with phone makers for a new ‘low-cost 4G feature phones,' Gopal Vittal, Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director, Airtel was quoted by Live Mint in a report on Thursday.
“We have no intention to get into subsidising devices and running the inventory as if we own them. There is a difference between subsidizing and bundling. We have done that on the smartphone side for many years. We will continue to look at bundling,” the report quoted Vittal.
The report further added that the company will launch its own VoLTE - 4G voice network service by March 2018.
Zeebiz had earlier reported that the newly launched JioPhone will force other phone makers to up their game and upgrade the current feature phones that mostly run on 2G technology to 4G enabled phones.
“There will be rapid acceleration in Q3 and Q4 of this year for adoption of 4G feature phones,” Neil Shah, Research Director at Counterpoint Research told Zeebiz on July 21.
Mukesh Ambani announced that the 4G VoLTE feature phones will be effectively free, with a refundable security deposit of Rs 1500.
JioPhone will have a 2.4-inch display and a micro SD card slot. It has a voice command feature and supports up to 22 Indian languages, the company said.
In addition to this, the phone will have a single SIM slot which will support only Jio SIM cards, a report by Gadgets 360 said on Wednesday.
The report added that Qualcomm and Spreadtrum independently announced their chips are used in the JioPhone. The phone is said to have a ‘panic button’ as well.
Beta trails of the JioPhone will begin on August 15; thereafter customers will be able to pre-order the phone from August 24. JioPhones are expected to hit markets in early September.