After Reliance Jio and Airtel, BSNL has now come up with its VoLTE-capable feature phone in partnership with Micromax. Titled “Bharat-1”, the phone comes with entry-level specifications and offers unlimited data and calling every month for a sum of Rs 97. In addition to that, you are required to pay Rs 2200 for the phone initially. Furthermore, there are no cash back guarantees either, at least for now.
It’s, however, worth noting the Rs 97 plan is 3G only as BSNL doesn’t have any 4G infrastructure in the country right now. There are no glaring advantages the Bharat-1 exercises over others especially if we consider Airtel’s offering. As far as entertainment services are concerned, the India-based OEM has bundled its own platform called “Micromax Entertainment”. The service currently provides complimentary access to more than a hundred live TV channels in addition to “tons of songs and videos”. Whatever that means.
The Bharat-1 also supports 22 regional languages and is not locked to a single operator like other feature phones launched by Jio and Airtel. Hardware specifications include a 2000 mAh battery, 2.4-inch QVGA screen, Qualcomm Snapdragon 205 processor, 512MB of RAM, 4GB internal memory, a 2-megapixel rear camera, and a VGA front sensor as well. It is dual-SIM compatible and flaunts a standard candy bar look. Bharat-1 will be available in retail stores starting from this month’s 20th.
Despite a competitive price, the success of the Bharat-1 seems quite uncertain at first glance. For starters, the data offer is not for the 4G LTE network which I guess shouldn’t be an issue for the markets the phone is targeting but it’s still a drawback. Second, the entertainment service is not as rich as other platforms. Moreover, Jio is already on track to ship more than six million JioPhone handsets and has even included a feature that lets users project content to a bigger display.
Commenting on the announcement, Mr. Rahul Sharma, Co-founder Micromax, “BSNL is one of the major service providers in the country and has a vast reach and network that spreads across every nook & corner of the country. Both Micromax and BSNL have been working with an aim to bring the next wave of unconnected users on the Internet. We will now take this vision forward with Bharat-1 and create a compelling proposition for the users that is a first in the category.”