‘The Rs 500 4G smartphone’: All you need to know

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Incumbent telecom companies Airtel, Idea and Vodafone appears to have found a way to tackle the disruptive pricing being offered by Reliance Jio. According to a report in leading business daily The Economic Times (ET), these telecom companies are planning to court feature phone owners with 4G smartphones at very affordable rates.

Here’s all you need to know about about these affordable smartphones reportedly coming from these telcos.

According to the report, the three telcos — Airtel, Vodafone and Idea — are working with smartphone companies to launch 4G devices at as low as Rs 500.

The smartphones may run on processors from companies like MediaTek and Spreadtrum.

Google Android Go too may play an important part on Google Android Go. As Shobhit Srivastava, a research analyst at Counterpoint Technology Market Research, told ET, “The launch of low-cost 4G chipsets from Spreadtrum and MediaTek with Google’s Android Go strategy makes it possible for OEMs to offer cheap smartphones that live up to the first-time smartphone user’s expectations.”

These ‘ultra-affordable smartphones’ are expected come bundled with data plans worth Rs 60-70 per month.

The three telecom companies aim to counter Reliance Jio’s new Rs 49 plan for JioPhone with these phones.

The aim is to retain users by upgrading them to smartphones. This will not only help in safeguard their user base but also boost data consumption.

According to International Data Corporation’s (IDC) Smartphone Consumer PULSE research on mobile phone consumer trends in India, one out of three of the feature phone users would like to buy a data-enabled phone in the next one year. However, affordability of the mobile devices in terms of upfront purchase cost remains a strong barrier for the much needed migration of these feature phone users to smartphones.

Feature or basic phones still account for a large number users in the country. These subscribers typically use mainly 2G voice services and reportedly account for 65-70% of India’s billion-plus mobile subscribers.

Feature phone users are said to contribute 50% of the telecom sector’s revenue.

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