JioPhone Next May Not Drive Migration from Feature Phones to Smartphones: Airtel MD - Gopal Vittal

Airtel Managing Director Gopal Vittal
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Airtel Managing Director Gopal Vittal

Highlights

The JioPhone Next is priced at Rs 6499, but users have the option to buy the device for Rs 1,999 and pay the rest for the next 18 or 24 months in easy EMI. Users first need to register for the phone through WhatsApp or the Jio website.

Airtel Managing Director Gopal Vittal suggested on Wednesday that he was unsure whether a recently launched 4G smartphone, JioPhone Next, would attract feature phone users in mass numbers due to its price. Mr Vittal did not directly name the JioPhone Next. Jio's Google-backed smartphone went on sale on Friday. The JioPhone Next is priced at Rs 6499, but users have the option to buy the device for Rs 1,999 and pay the rest for the next 18 or 24 months in easy EMI.

"I'm not too sure if the new 4G device will drive feature phone users to upgrade in a major way as smartphone prices, including those of 4G devices priced up to Rs 12,000 have risen sharply due to high input chipset costs, memory and screen prices have all gone up," Mr Vittal said at Bharti Airtel's fiscal second-quarter earnings call held on Wednesday.

First reported by ET Telecom, Mr Vittal also noted that Airtel's recent Rs 6000 cashback offer available on purchase on a wider range of 4G devices priced up to Rs 12,000 was generating a lot of interest in various circles such as Rajasthan, UP, West Bengal and AP suggest that there is great interest in Airtel's money-back offer.

Last month, Airtel announced a cashback offer of Rs 6000 for users purchasing smartphones up to Rs 12000. To take advantage of the cashback benefit of Rs 6000, an Airtel customer needs to recharge with an Airtel prepaid package of Rs 249 or Continuously higher, according to Package validity for 36 months. The customer will be reimbursed in two parts: the first instalment of Rs 2,000 after 18 months or 1.5 years and the remaining Rs 4,000 after 36 months or a period of three years. To learn more about the program and the list of eligible phones, users can visit the Airtel website.

Reliance's budget smartphone, JioPhone Next, is ready to go on sale today. The JioPhone Next is available in retail stores in India. Users must first register for the phone through WhatsApp or the Jio website. Users will not be able to purchase the phone without registering online. With JioPhone Next, Reliance aims to bring affordable smartphones with 4G connectivity to users across India.

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