Today begins another set of war between telecom behemoths – Bharti Airtel and Reliance Jio. Both the entities are already in a tug of war corresponding to their 4G data offering. However, the intensity of the ongoing battle reached a new high when the Sunil Mittal-led firm today launched a 4G phone offer bundling with 4G data very similar to what Jio had launched with its JioPhone offer.
While the offerings from both the firms have their pros and cons, we bring here a detailed view of both plans, for our readers to take an informed decision.
Airtel 4G Phone Offer
The offer says a customer can get an Airtel bundled smartphone at an effective price of Rs 1399. The offer has two components – a smartphone and a service or data plan.
Smartphone : The customers who go with the Airtel 4G phone offer will get a 4G smartphone from Karbonn. The model is Karbonn A40 India which is a 4 inch device and comes with 1.3 Ghz processor. It has 1 GB RAM and 8 GB internal storage. The phone sports 3 megapixel rear and 0.3 megapixel front camera. It has got a 1400 mAh battery and runs on Android Nougat OS. This is a dual SIM 4G phone and is VoLTE enabled. It has got GPS as well as Bluetooth. Overall, this is a proper smartphone but with very basic features. The MRP of the Karbonn A40 India in the open market is Rs 3499.
Offer Details : To avail this Airtel 4G phone offer the customer needs to pay Airtel Rs 2899. Of this, the company would refund Rs 1500 in cash to the customer after 3 years but in 2 installments – in one Rs 500, and in second, Rs 1000. But there’s a catch, and a big one. To avail this cash refund the customer needs to recharge his phone with minimum of Rs 169 plan for 36 months. So, besides the smartphone upfront cost of Rs 2899, the customer needs to spend Rs 6084 in next three years to acquire the phone for Rs 1399. Alternatively, one can recharge vouchers worth Rs 3000 in first 18 months and he can get a Rs 500 refund. If the customer needs the second refund of Rs 1000, he has to recharge with Rs 3000 in the next 18 months.
Rs 169 Data Plan : So, what do you get in the Rs 169 plan that you have take to remain eligible to get your refund of Rs 1500? In this plan Airtel offers 500 mb of 4G data and unlimited voice calling. Text messages are however charged.
So, basically the customer needs to spend Rs 8983 (Rs 2899 for phone and Rs 6084 for recharges) to own the Karbonn A40 India phone and use Airtel services over next 3 years.
Reliance JioPhone Offer
The Jio 4G phone offer gives customers a 4G feature phone at an effective price of Rs 0 (Zero). It also has two components – a phone and a Jio data plan.
JioPhone : The JioPhone is not not a smartphone in true sense. It looks like a feature phone but functions almost like a smartphone. The JioPhone comes with a 2.4 inch screen and is equipped with 1 GHz dual core processor. It has 500 MB RAM and 4 GB internal storage which can be expanded using microSD cards. The phone has got 3 megapixel rear camera and 03 MP front camera. The phone carries a 2000 mAh battery. This JioPhone can be connected to a TV – be smart.not smart or, even CRT – and the regular TV programs can be watched.
Offer Details : The JioPhone offer says a customer can get the 4G feature phone at an effective price of Zero. But he has to deposit a refundable amount of Rs 1500 with the operator which will be refunded after 3 years when the customer returns the phone, in whatever condition. Here is a catch also. One needs to recharge his phone with Rs 153 for the next 3 years.
Rs 153 Plan : This plan offers 500 MB of 4G data per day and is valid for 2 days. Once the daily quota is consumed the data speed will be throttled but there would no extra charge.
So, basically, to avail the JioPhone offer the customer needs to deposit Rs 1500 and spend another Rs 5500 on data to avail the Jio offer.
Our Take: From the smartphone perspective, while Jio 4G phone offer appears more cost effective, the user experience with the device may not make someone happy as a smartphone user. On the other hand Airtel 4G phone offers a true smartphone from Karbonn. But the Karbonn phone – the A40 India comes with very basic specifications. Again, it may not give the right kind of user experience.
From usage point of view, the Jio offer sounds pretty safe for users, and precisely for the first time data users. The company by taking Rs 153 of recharge, gives 500 mb of 4G data and everything else is free. There is no charge for voice calls, SMSs or extra data usage. There is no hidden charges. Whereas in Airtel 4G phone plan, there are extra charges for SMS usage and for extra data beyond 500 MB. A new user may not get a track of his data usage and he may be tricked to pay more.