Airtel has partnered Intex to bring three of the domestic brand's smartphones under its Mera Pehla Smartphone initiative, which offers cashback to sweeten the purchase and lock customers onto the operator's network. Thus far, Airtel has partnered with Karbonn and Celkon, with Intex becoming the third manufacturer to join the telco's initiative. With the announcement on Wednesday, Intex has also launched a new smartphone - Intex Aqua Lions N1 - while bringing its previously launched Intex Aqua S3 and Intex Aqua A4 under the offer's umbrella.
Let's start with the offer, before coming to the specifications of the newly launched Intex Aqua Lions N1. As before, Airtel subscribers with an eligible Mera Pehla Smartphone will need to make recharges of any denominations but worth Rs. 3,000 in the first 18 months to receive a cashback of Rs. 500, and recharges worth another Rs. 3,000 in the second 18 month period to claim a cashback of Rs. 1,000 - bringing the total cashback to Rs. 1,500. Users can choose to avail the bundled Rs. 169 pack, which for eligible handsets has a 28-day validity, and offers unlimited calling (subject to fair usage policy) apart from 0.5GB high-speed data a day. The refunds will be credited to the user's Airtel Payments Bank account.
Getting to the 'effective prices' of the Intex handsets under the Airtel Mera Pehla Smartphone offer, the telco says the Intex Aqua Lions N1 has an MRP of Rs. 3,799 but will be available at an MOP (something that Airtel is calling a down payment) of Rs. 3,149. When the Rs. 1,500 cashback is subtracted, the Aqua Lions N1's effective price is said to be Rs. 1,649. In a similar fashion, the Intex Aqua A4 has an MRP of Rs. 4,999, but will be available at an MOP of Rs. 3,499, bring its effective price after cashback to Rs. 1,999. Finally, the Intex Aqua S3 is said to have an MRP of Rs. 6,649, an MOP of Rs. 5,879, and an effective price of Rs. 4,379 after cashbacks.
As we mentioned, the Intex Aqua Lions N1 is a brand new smartphone running Android 7.0 Nougat, and it supports dual-SIM cards. It sports a 4-inch WVGA (480x800 pixels) display, and is powered by a 1.1GHz MediaTek processor coupled with 1GB of RAM. The smartphone bears a 2-megapixel rear camera and a 0.3-megapixel (VGA) front facing camera. It offers 8GB of inbuilt storage, expandable via microSD card (up to 128GB) with its own dedicated slot. Connectivity options include 4G VoLTE, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, GPS, 3.5mm headphone jack, and Micro-USB.
A little background on the Airtel Mera Pehla smartphone initiative - the telecom operator launched the programme back in October in response to the Jio Phone that was marketed with a similar 'effective price' strategy. The launch was with the Karbonn A40 Indian, and the telco partnered the domestic brand again in November with the Karbonn A1 Indian and Karbonn A41 Power. In between, it also partnered Celkon for its Smart 4G smartphone.
Other telcos to follow the Jio Phone's effective price model include Vodafone India with the Micromax Bharat-2 Ultra, and BSNL with the Micromax Bharat 1 feature phone. Vodafone late last month unveiled similar offers for the Micromax Bharat 2 Plus, Micromax Bharat 3, Micromax Bharat 4, and the Micromax Canvas 1.
Speaking on the launch, Ajai Puri, Chief Operating Officer (India and South Asia), Bharti Airtel said, "We are really pleased to see the continued positive response to our 'Mera Pehla Smartphone' initiative from customers as well as smartphone manufacturers. 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 our customers. We look forward to working with them towards empowering every Indian with a 4G smartphone."