Vodafone and Micromax have come together to launch the Bharat-2 Ultra 4G-capable feature phone in a bid to take on Jio Phone. This is the second such partnership for Micromax, which launched the Bharat-1 last week in partnership with BSNL. The Vodafone phone's effective price will be Rs. 999 if the buyer sticks to the handset for a 3-year period. Jio Phone also has a similar 3-year commitment requirement that brings down the effective price to zero, while Airtel and Karbonn's A40 Indian Android phone sees its effective price come down to Rs. 1,399 over the same time frame. BSNL and Micromax offer the Bharat-1, which comes with unlimited data and calls and has a lower effective price than the Jio Phone.
Under the Vodafone and Micromax partnership, interested users on Vodafone network or even new customers can buy the new Bharat-2 Ultra 4G smartphone at Rs. 2,899, and will have to recharge it with at least Rs. 150 per month for the next 36 months. Vodafone says that the recharges can be of any denomination totalling to a minimum of Rs. 150 per month. The company at the end of 18 months will offer cashback of Rs. 900, and additional cash back of Rs. 1,000 after another 18 months. Though, users will receive the cash back in their Vodafone M-Pesa wallets which can be utilised for transacting digitally or withdraw cash as per user convenience. The deal is very similar to Airtel's, with the same downpayment but a smaller Rs. 1,500 cashback over three years.
Micromax says that the Bharat series of phones have seen impressive adoption in the Indian market. The company claims that the Bharat phones have been adopted by 2 million users.
Coming to the specifications of Bharat-2 Ultra, it features a 4-inch WVGA display and is powered by quad-core Spreadtrum SC9832 processor clocked at 1.3GHz coupled with 512MB RAM. There's 4GB of storage. On the camera front, the handset sports a 2-megapixel rear camera and a 0.3-megapixel front camera. The device comes with camera modes like scene detection, frame mode, and burst shots. The handset runs on Android 6.0 Marshmallow and packs a 1300mAh battery.
Commenting on the announcement, Avneesh Khosla, Associate Director Consumer Business, Vodafone India said, "We are delighted to partner with Micromax to democratise the 4G smartphones at a never before price of under Rs. 999. This will help fulfill the aspirations of several million phone users across the country who desire a smart phone but couldn't afford one. It will also encourage current non users of 4G to upgrade and enjoy a richer user experience with Vodafone SuperNet 4G."
Rahul Sharma, Co-founder, Micromax, "This partnership with Vodafone will help bring in the next phase of smartphone adoption by hand-holding consumers to upgrade them from feature phones to smartphones. We believe that greater device affordability and low cost data packs will drive increased smartphone adoption, as there is still a huge gap."