Airtel will bring Android Go-based 4G smartphones to the Indian market in in partnership with handset manufacturers under its ‘Mera Pehla Smartphone’ initiative from March 2018. Lava and Micromax are set to launch the first set of 4G devices powered by Android Orea.
The smartphones, along with basic specifications, will be compatible with Airtel applications, including MyAirtel, Airtel TV and Wynk Music. Airtel is reportedly said to offer cash back offers and bundled plans to take on its rival Reliance Jio.
Bharti Airtel Chief Marketing Officer Vani Venkatesh said: “This partnership is a major milestone for the ‘Mera Pehla Smartphone’ initiative. Android Go will provide a massive boost to our efforts to bring affordable smartphone options to the market and potentially enable hundreds of millions of feature phone users and unconnected people to get online.”
"Airtel has joined the Seamless Alliance which will usher in a new era of open innovation for mobile operators and airlines by empowering mobile operators to extend their services into airline cabins," the company said in a statement.
‘Mera Pehla Smartphone’ program was launched by Airtel in October 2017 with the objective of bringing a 4G smartphone within the reach of every Indian.
Android Oreo (Go edition) is a configuration of the Android operating system specifically optimised for devices with 1GB of RAM or less.