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BSNL, Micromax Launch Bharat-1, a Rs. 2,200 Jio Phone Rival With Unlimited Data & Calls


BSNL and Micromax have joined hands to launch Bharat-1, a 4G feature phone that will take on Jio Phone as well as the recently unveiled Karbonn A40 Indian Android smartphone launched in partnership with Airtel. Priced at Rs. 2,200, the new Bharat-1 will come with “unlimited” voice calls and “unlimited” high-speed data at Rs. 97 tariff from BSNL. The new BSNL-promoted Bharat-1, which is being called the ‘Desh ka 4G phone’, will become available for purchase from Friday, October 20 via retail stores.

A standard feature phone on the outside, the Micromax Bharat-1 packs a Qualcomm Snapdragon chipset with provision for 4G VoLTE. On the back of the phone of the phone is a 2-megapixel camera, and a VGA shooter in front. It is powered by a 2000mAh battery. The dual-SIM handset supports 22 local languages and provides buyers access to 100 live TV channels, and Micromax co-founder Rahul Sharma said there will be tons of songs and videos as well. At Rs. 97 tariff plan, you can do everything on this phone, he added. In contrast, the minimum Jio Phone recharge is of Rs. 153.

Micromax Bharat-1 vs Jio Phone ownership cost
Sharma said the Bharat-1 phone will cost customers less than Jio Phone down the line. The “effective cost” of using the Micromax Bharat-1 will be Rs. 3,364 in the first year, compared to Rs. 3,336 that a user of Jio Phone would spend on the device, Sharma said. But if a customer uses the respective devices for two years, the Reliance Jio’s Jio Phone would end up costing them Rs. 5,172, whereas the Bharat-1 would cost them Rs. 4,528. Three years down the line, the Bharat-1 will cost customers Rs. 5,692, while the Jio Phone cost them Rs. 6,008 during the same period.

At a media event, which saw Manoj Sinha, minister of communication and Aruna Sundararajan, Secretary to Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology of the Government of India deliver speeches, BSNL executives said they see the launch of Bharat-1 as an opportunity to grow its user base. The Bharat-1 feature phone comes pre-loaded with BHIM UPI payments app, as well as BSNL’s wallet app, the executives said.

A lot is riding on the Bharat-1 for Micromax, which has lost much of its smartphone market share to Chinese smartphone makers in the last two years. The company, which once launched dozens of smartphone models each year, has launched only a handful of models this year. The company wanted to watch the “Chinaman” exhaust their resources, Rahul Sharma, co-founder of Micromax said in a recent media event.

But the company’s Bharat-1 is expected to face stiff competition from Reliance Jio and Airtel. Reliance has already committed to ship more than six million Jio Phone handsets, a device it sells for “free”. The company is expected to resume the pre-orders for the Jio Phone later this year. If that competition wasn’t enough, earlier this month telecom operator Bharti Airtel partnered with Karbonn Mobiles to introduce a 4G-enabled smartphone at the price of a feature phone.

The company said the Karbonn A40 Indian smartphone would be sold at Rs. 1,399 (a price cut of about 60 percent). On top of this, the phone includes a monthly pack of Rs. 169 from Airtel. The potential customers are required to make a down payment of Rs. 2,899 for the smartphone, however.

Micromax Bharat-1


Release date October 2017
Form factor Bar
Removable battery No
SAR value NA


Screen size (inches) 2.40
Touchscreen No
Resolution 240×320 pixels


Processor make Qualcomm Snapdragon
Internal storage 4GB
Expandable storage No


Rear camera 2.4-megapixel
Flash No
Front camera 0.3-megapixel


Wi-Fi No
Wi-Fi standards supported NA
Bluetooth Yes
Infrared No
Number of SIMs 2
3G Yes
4G/ LTE Yes
Supports 4G in India (Band 40) Yes
3G Yes
4G/ LTE Yes
Supports 4G in India (Band 40) Yes


Compass/ Magnetometer No
Proximity sensor No
Accelerometer No
Ambient light sensor No
Gyroscope No
Barometer No
Temperature sensor No