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Airtel, which has similar partnerships with handset makers Celkon and Karbonn, has expanded its 'Mera Pehla Smartphone' initiative in collaboration with Intex, a statement said.
Mukesh Ambani-led Reliance Jio is offering an internet-enabled feature phone for a refundable deposit of Rs 1,500. Incumbent operators are also lining up their own bundled offers to counter the offensive.
Customers will need to make a down payment of Rs 3,149 for the handset, followed by 36 monthly recharges of Rs 169.
After 18 months, the customer will get a cash refund of Rs 500 and another Rs 1,000 after completion of 36 months, taking the total cash benefit to Rs 1,500, it added.
In case the customer does not wish to opt for the Rs 169 bundled plan, he can purchase any other recharge plan.
However, to claim the cash refund benefit, customers would need recharges worth Rs 3,000 within the first 18 months to claim the first refund (Rs 500) and another Rs 3,000 over the next 18 months for the second refund of Rs 1,000.
"We are really pleased to see the continued positive response to our Mera Pehla Smartphone initiative from customers as well as smartphone manufacturers," Bharti Airtel Chief Operating Officer (India and South Asia) Ajai Puri said.
The Intex Aqua A4 - which will come at an effective price of Rs 1,999 (compared to market price of Rs 4,999), features 1.3 GHz quad-core processor, 1GB RAM and an 8GB internal storage (expandable up to 64GB), 5MP rear and a 2MP front camera.
Aqua S3 will be available at an effective price of Rs 4,379 (compared to market price of Rs 6,649). It features 5- inch display, 1.3GHz quad- processor, 2GB RAM, 16GB internal storage (expandable up to 64GB), 8MP rear and 5MP front camera, and 2,450 mAh battery.