Home-grown smartphone maker Micromax on Tuesday launched the Bharat-1, a 4G VoLTE-enabled feature phone, in partnership with state-run telecom service provider BSNL.
Aiming to push data usage by providing internet access among the Indian population so far using feature phones, estimated to be over 500 million, Micromax and BSNL said they would collaborate to enhance consumer mobile experience. The Micromax Bharat-1
is a 4G phone that helps bridge the digital divide and provides users with unlimited calling and data offer from BSNL at Rs 97 a month.
Promising a step forward in the direction of the government’s Digital India drive, Micromax and BSNL are looking to leverage the latter’s deep national network coverage and the former’s Bharat-1 handset for taking data services to mobile users that are not yet data users.
Micromax co-founder Rahul Sharma said: “BSNL is one of the major service providers in the country and has a vast reach and network spreading across the country. Both Micromax and BSNL have been working with the aim to bring the next wave of unconnected users on the internet. We will now take this vision forward with the Bharat-1 and create a compelling proposition for users.”
BSNL CMD Anupam Srivastava
added: “We are proud that we are partnering with Micromax, which has been a key player in India’s growth journey and has connected more than 150 million mobile users, and this number is ever increasing. Connecting the last mile to the internet with relevant information is an important part of the strategy for both BSNL and Micromax. We are confident that Bharat-1 will help millions experience the data and calling like never before.”
Larry Paulson, president for India operations of Qualcomm, which is powering the Bharat-1 handset, said: “The launch of Bharat-1, powered by Qualcomm 205 Mobile Platform will usher a new era by providing access to 4G, VOLTE, Payments and new opportunities to millions of users in India. We congratulate Micromax and BSNL for taking India, a step closer to the realisation of Digital India.”