Early in February, Indian phone maker Micromax announced plans of launching 4G VoLTE feature phones and low-cost 4G Android phones in its March 15 edition. Their new smartphones are titled ‘Bharat 1’ (the feature phone) and ‘Bharat 2’ and fall under the edition range. Micromax now hopes to sell about 6 million of these devices to retain its share in the Indian handset market.

As per ET’s latest report, Micromax aims to increase its overall market share, as well as compete with Chinese and domestic handset makers with its fresh low-cost 4G phones concept. Micromax’s  Chief marketing officer Shubhajit Sen further stated that the company is currently engaged in partnership talks with telecom operators. According to him, technologies integrated within the devices would be of high interest to operators in India and will help them better market their 4G service to a wider audience.

Witnessing the advent of 4G network in India, Sen said,

With of the operators giving free voice calls over 4G VoLTE, we’re seeing a spike in demand for 4G VoLTE feature phones. On the other hand, Bharat 2 is going to totally disrupt the entry-level smartphone segment.

As for the availability of these phones, Bharat 2 is going to be launched in about two weeks. But, the company plans to release Bharat 1, once a successful roll out of Bharat 2 is completed. It also proposes the development of Bharat 3 but didn’t dispense much information about it. Both of these devices will be manufactured in India and will be marketed under a single brand name. The open devices target to promote the Digital India campaign by also bringing mobile banking services to tier-II and III cities through its devices. Speaking of the same, Sen said,

Right now, we’re focusing a lot on payments as an area we can add value to.

In January, Micromax along with other Indian smartphone manufacturers Karbonn, Intex, Micromax, and Lava were ordered by the Government to develop and launch 4G VoLTE devices costing less than Rs 2,000. These devices are the outcome of the order served by the department and hence range significantly low. Lava has already released its 4G VoLTE-supported feature phone in the market last month, with support from Reliance Jio. It costs Rs. 3,333.

Even after being the first Google-approved phone, Bharat 2 will be priced below Rs.3,000; while Bharat 1 will sport a price tag of Rs. 1,999. Bharat 1 will be the first 4G VoLTE feature phone release for the company and will run a Java-based OS instead of Android. Bharat 2 is also expected to feature a backlink to digital wallets offered by Transerv and the ability to pay offline merchants through mVisa. However, these expectations are not confirmed yet.

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