A couple of months back, we reported about the possible launch of a new 4G VoLTE phone from Micromax called as Bharat 1. Unlike the other Bharat series devices, the Bharat 1 is a feature phone but offers 4G VoLTE support to take advantage of making HD voice calls & accessing high-speed internet. This week, Micromax in partnership with the state-own telecom network, BSNL launched the Bharat 1 4G VoLTE feature phone for Rs. 2,200. It will be available across India through offline retail stores starting October 20th.
BSNL also launched a special unlimited plan for the Bharat 1 users at just Rs. 97. It includes unlimited voice calls and internet usage and comes with a one-month validity. Compared to other major telecom networks, BSNL’s 4G coverage is only limited to few cities. However, the company has mentioned to roll-out the 4G services starting January 2018. The Bharat 1 will effectively cost lower than JioPhone after using it for three years. While the JioPhone has to be returned after three years of usage, there are no such restrictions for Bharat 1 users.
Unlike the JioPhone, the Bharath 1 doesn’t come with SIM-lock feature and can be used with any network. It supports dual SIM dual standby and the users can even use the device with any other network operator instead of BSNL. The device supports 22 Indian regional languages and will be fully manufactured in India. In terms of hardware, there are a lot of similarities between JioPhone and Bharat 1. It comes with a 2.4-inch QVGA display (320 x 240 pixels) and comes powered 1.1GHz Snapdragon 205 (MSM8905) processor.
There is 512 MB of RAM and 4GB of internal storage that can be further expandable via a MicroSD card slot. In terms of optics, the Bharat 1 features a 2MP rear camera and a 0.3MP front camera. The device is backed by a 2,000mAh battery which should be good enough at least two days of usage. On the connectivity front, the Bharat 1 includes 4G VoLTE, Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.1 LE, GPS, 3.5mm audio jack, and MicroUSB 2.0 port. Micromax and BSNL are aiming to sell. The phone also comes pre-loaded with Bharat Interface for Money (BHIM) app for cashless mobile payments.
Recently, Airtel also launched the low-cost smartphone in partnership with Karbonn. Unlike BSNL & Reliance Jio, Airtel came up with a VoLTE enabled smartphone and is targeting the first time smartphone users. There is also a Rs 169 special unlimited plan from Airtel with 28 days validity for Karbonn A40 Indian users. In the coming weeks, Vodafone and Idea will jointly launch their own feature phone to compete with Bharat 1 and JioPhone.