BSNL and Vodafone plan to take on JioPhone


State-owned BSNL (Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited) and Vodafone India are roping in local handset merchants to provide spruced-up schemes on feature handsets as they increase efforts to avoid their users from swapping to Reliance Jio Infocomm. Vodafone India, the second largest telecom company in the country, has collaborated with phone firms such as Intex and Lava to offer packed cash back and voice plans with 2G feature handsets. BSNL claimed that it is collaborating with Micromax and Lava to reveal co-branded feature handsets next month at almost Rs 2,000 with packed offers such as free of cost calls.

Vodafone, via these joint ventures, is making an attempt to defend its voice commerce, which attributes almost 80% of income, ahead of its amalgamation with Idea Cellular, 3rd-largest telecom company in the country, analysts claimed. Vodafone previously has a tie-up with iTel of China. The partnerships come as Reliance gets ready to make JioPhone, its 4G feature phone, which operates only on the Jio network, obtainable at the time of Navratri that begins this week. Vodafone is providing a free talk time of Rs 50 for 18 Months for its users on least recharge of Rs 100 who buy Intex and Lava feature handsets.

The scheme is obtainable on almost 10 Lava feature handset models. Cashback offer will be accessible users who purchase a new feature handset from these merchants and enroll to a new prepaid number of Vodafone. It is also valid for users who already utilize feature handsets from these merchants and have bought a new SIM of Vodafone or an active user of Vodafone who has bought a new feature handset.

Out of 450 Million feature handset consumers in India, almost 250 Million have not updated their handsets in the last 1 to 2 Years, as per data from a Hong Kong-located research company. “These people recharge their handset with minute sachets and top-ups, which classically stay below Rs 100 per month,” claimed Tarun Pathak, associate director at the firm, to the media. “These new feature handset joint ventures are being shaped to oppose JioPhone. On the other hand, the effect of JioPhone on these telecom companies is still to be witnessed,” he further added.


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