New Delhi, Feb 10: There is a very big news for Mobile phone users in India especially those using feature phones.
The top three leading operators, Bharti Airtel, Vodafone India and Idea Cellular are working with handset companies to make 4G smartphones drastically cheaper than feature phones - may be as low as Rs 500 - and offer them with bundled voice and data plans for Rs 60-70 a month.
According to a report in "The Economic Times", The approach is different from Reliance Jio's strategy of subsidising 4G feature phones and is aimed at countering the latest Rs 49 a month plan for JioPhone users, which may attract a massive chunk of their voice subscribers.
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.
An executive at another operator said the intention is to bring down the effective prices of smartphones to the level of feature phones or even lower with bundled data and voice packages and cashback offers.
Bharti Airtel, Vodafone India and Idea Cellular declined comment for this story.