BSNL will bring affordable feature phones with Lava, Micromax
It appears that all major telcos are coming out with their own phones to counter the JioPhone. Airtel and Idea are already bringing their own phones and now state-run Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) will also bring co-branded feature phones, priced at Rs. 2,000. It has partnered with Lava and Micromax and as expected, these phones will come loaded with freebies. Here's more.
Not exactly Jio
However, BSNL believes that its plan is way different from others. The company's chairman told ET Telecom, "Our strategy is away from procurement. We are trying to come up with our own bundled phone equipment and in about a month time, you will see co-branded feature phones with various manufacturers will come." BSNL phones will make their debut in the festive month of October.
Pricing is key here
Lava and Micromax will come up with the co-branded feature phone and BSNL will supply lucrative voice call plans. Pricing of the phone is crucial. JioPhone costs Rs. 1,500, which is refundable and Airtel's 4G smartphone will be priced at around Rs. 2,500. Therefore, BSNL is planning to strike a balance with its feature phone by pricing it close to Rs. 2,000.
It's a win-win situation
BSNL is tight-lipped about how much it will be spending on this initiative. However, for Hari Om Rai-driven Lava and Rahul Sharma co-founded Micromax, this is a lucrative opportunity, as they both will get to tap into BSNL's 10.5 crore subscribers that are mainly based in semi-urban locations. Both the firms are known for their budget handsets and they understand this particular demographic perfectly.
Why will it work?
The entry of a slew of BSNL-powered feature phones, that are affordable and come loaded with freebies, is expected to be a great draw during the festive season. The fact that it is voice-centric is also a plus point. The Indian semi-urban and rural population are yet to migrate fully into smartphones and a phone, with unlimited calls, is a value-for-money purchase.
Spoilt for choice
It'll help Lava and Micromax to regain the market share lost to Chinese smartphone makers and BSNL to strengthen its customer base. It remains to be seen what exactly goes down this festive season. On one end we've e-commerce platforms offering big discounts on mobile devices and on the other, we've feature phones, priced dirt cheap and bundled with freebies. Let the consumers decide.