Indian telecommunications company Airtel has been in a stiff race with Reliance ever since the inception of Jio offers. Airtel was trying to counter Jio since months in the data plans section. But that became more difficult with the launch of the dirt cheap Jio Phone.
But now Airtel has launched its own cheap smartphone in partnership with Karbonn Mobiles. Named the Airtel A40, the smartphone from Airtel is priced at Rs 1,399 which is less than the price of Jio Phone at Rs 1,500.
The Airtel A40 smartphone has a 4-inch display and runs on a 1.3GHz processor, 1GB RAM along with 8GB internal storage that is expandable up to 32GB. The phone sports a 2MP rear camera along with a 0.3MP camera on the front and a 1400MAh battery. It supports dual-sim setup and comes with 4G/3G/2G connectivity with support for Airtel VoLTE.
Effective price and monthly recharge
Customers have to make a down payment of Rs 2,899 during the purchase of the smartphone. This should be followed up with 36 continuous monthly recharges of Rs 169. The customer will be entitled to get a cash refund of Rs 500 after 18 months. He/She will get another Rs 1000 after 36 months. This is provided if they did the recharges on time.
According to Airtel,” In case the customer does not wish to opt for the Rs 169 bundled plan, she/he has the flexibility of doing recharges of any denomination and validity as per individual requirements. However, to claim the cash refund benefit, recharges worth Rs 3000 must be done within the first 18 months (to claim the first refund instalment of Rs 500) and another Rs 3000 over the next 18 months (to claim the second refund instalment of Rs 1000).”
This price structuring is similar to that of the Reliance Jio phone. The Jio Phone users have to pay a cumulative amount of Rs 7,008 over a period of three years. Though the structure goes in a manner where the company claims that the buyer will be refunded the Rs 1,500 they pay for the phone.
But that’s not how it works, as the Rs 1,500 is paid back over a period of three years. The phone needs to be in working conditions and needs to be returned to the company as well. This is not the case with the Airtel phone and it need not be returned. During the three year period, the Jio phone cannot be unlocked or otherwise tampered with.
Reliance does not allow users to use other company SIMs on their phone but Airtel does. The refund of the phone does not remain valid in case the user does not return the phone within three months after the three year period. The users need to recharge Rs 1,500 each year or the deposit becomes invalid.
And here’s a comparison of the specs of Airtel Karbonn A40 with the Reliance Jio Phone.