Micromax in collaboration with state-owned telecom operator BSNL has launched its first 4G-enabled Bharat 1 on Tuesday to take on Reliance's JioPhone, which has finally started reaching buyers. Like the JioPhone, Bharat 1 offers customers "unlimited voice" and high-speed data at an affordable price. The Micromax Bharat 1 has been launched at Rs 2,200 and will be available in retailer stores from October 20.
Micromax Bharat 1 comes in a similar form factor as that of the JioPhone. For starters, it has a similar 2.4-inch TFT display, and is powered by a Snapdragon processor (most likely the Snapdragon 205) coupled with 512MB of RAM and 4GB internal storage. The "Made in India" handset also features two cameras, a 2MP unit on the back and a VGA quality front-facing camera.
Like the JioPhone, the Bharat 1 is 4G VoLTE enable, however BSNL does not offer 4G VoLTE services as of yet. The Micromax Bharat 1 also offers support to more than 22 different languages with the company calling it "Desh Ka Phone." The Bharat 1 comes with a 2000mAh battery.
As reported earlier, the Bharat 1 handset is a dual-SIM handset and comes bundled with a BSNL SIM card and a suite of services from BSNL. However, it will not be restricted to BSNL's network alone. The handset can be used on any network of your choice. This is a big advantage over the JioPhone, which is currently restricted to the Jio network.
The handset will also come pre-loaded with additional features like Bharat Interface for Money (BHIM) mobile app. Apart from that, the Bharat 1 will allow users to access more than 100 live TV channels as well as tons of songs and videos.
The state-owned telco has announced an aggressively priced data plan, with users getting unlimited calls and Internet at just Rs 97 per month.
According to Rahul Sharma, co-founder, Micromax Informatics, the Bharat 1 phone will cost customers less than JioPhone down the line. The "effective cost" of using the Bharat 1 will be around Rs 3,364 compared to Rs 3,336 that a user of JioPhone would spend on the device, but if a customer uses the respective devices for two years, the JioPhone would end up costing them Rs 5,172. On the other hand, Bharat 1 would cost Rs 4,528. However, three years down the line, the Bharat 1 will cost customers Rs 5,692 with JioPhone costing Rs 6,008 during the same period.
Nevertheless, Micromax and BSNL's Bharat 1 is expected to face tough competition from Reliance Jio and Airtel. With Reliance committed to deliver all the 6 million units it booked in just two and a half days for a phone that according to Mukesh Ambani costs "zero."
But the JioPhone is not the only competition that Bharat 1 will have, earlier this month Airtel partnered with Karbonn Mobiles to introduce a 4G-enabled smartphone, the Karbonn A40 Indian at Rs 3,499.