Jio competition | 4G smartphones at Rs 500, on a monthly plan of Rs 60

People who always loved to own a smartphone here is a golden chance for you!

Bharti AirtelBSE, Vodafone India and Idea CellularBSE, the top three operators, are working with handset companies to make 4G smartphones drastically cheaper than feature phones – maybe as low as Rs 500 – and offer them with bundled voice and data plans for Rs 60-70 a month.

Trying to tackle users, countering the Rs 49-month plan as that of Jio, the new approach might help telecom companies grab some attention.

While low-cost smartphones bundled with voice and data plans will hurt average revenue per user (APRU) in the near term, the telcos hope to retain their users and upgrade them to smartphones to increase data consumption in the medium to long term, analysts said.

“We will gear towards low-cost smartphones via alliances. Smartphones are expected to become cheaper, so for an offering with them, it makes more sense than setting up our own phones,” said an executive at one of the telcos, adding that it won’t subsidise phones the way Jio has.

The three carriers are already collaborating with handset makers and offering bundled data and voice along with cashbacks with smartphone priced under Rs 1,500, which is the upfront amount needed to buy Reliance Retail’s JioPhone, refundable after three years.