Soon after launching the Bharat 1 4G-enabled feature phone in the Indian market, Domestic handset manufacturer Micromax Informatics in a partnership with the India’s second largest telecom operator, Vodafone India on Monday announced the launch of its highly affordable smartphone, dubbed as the “Micromax Bharat 2 Ultra” in the Indian market. Carried a sticker price of Rs. 2,899, the new Micromax Bharat 2 Ultra will be made available in India starting from the first week of November.

The ‘disruptive’ entry of Reliance Jio has changed the entire telecom scenario with its highly affordable tariff plans and forced the other telecom giants to reduce their data and calling rates. If you don’t remember, Mukesh Ambani-led Reliance Jio announced their much-awaited 4G VoLTE-enabled feature phone, dubbed as “JioPhone” in India with an “effective price” of Rs. 0 (Zero). Reliance Jio’s effectively free offering of low-cost 4G enabled VoLTE handset has triggered a new form of handset revolution in the Indian telecom industry, and now Vodafone is the latest contender in this new-age telecom war.

To counter Reliance Jio’s JioPhone, other leading telecom operators and domestic handset makers have already updated their feature phone catalogue by launching affordable 4G-enabled phones in the Indian market. They have been trying really hard to come up with new strategies and aggressive plans to compete against the Reliance Jio, which has captured over 10 crore subscribers in a short period of time. Last week, Micromax also launched a new 4G VoLTE feature phone, “Micromax Bharat 1” in the Indian market at Rs. 2,200. Earlier this month, Indian telecom giant Bharti Airtel also announced its partnership with Karbonn Mobiles to introduce a 4G-enabled smartphone, called the “Karbonn A40 Indian” in the Indian tech market at an ‘effective price’ of Rs. 1,399. Aditya Birla Group’s Idea Cellular is also planning to launch a new 4G enabled feature phone in the Indian market pretty soon. The upcoming Idea 4G VoLTE feature phone is expected to be priced at Rs. 2,500.

The Micromax and Vodafone partnership will allow the users to enjoy voice calling facility and experience low-cost data and Internet services at just Rs. 150 per month. To grab this smartphone, both the existing and new Vodafone customers will need to make a down payment of Rs. 2,899 for the handset, and then make a minimum amount of recharges over three years to receive Rs. 1,900 cashbacks, giving the smartphone an ‘effective price’ of Rs. 999. The smartphone comes with a separate plan at Rs 150 per month, whose benefits are yet to be revealed by the British operator. Note that, customers will need to make recharges worth Rs. 2,700 in the first 18 months to get Rs. 900 cashback, and then make recharges worth Rs. 2,700 over the next 18 months to get Rs. 1,000 cashback, totalling Rs. 1900 cashback for the 3-year period. The refund amount will be credited to the customer’s Vodafone M-Pesa Wallet.

The ‘effective cost’ of using the Micromax Bharat 2 Ultra will be Rs. 4,699 in the first year, compared to Rs. 4,927 on Karbonn A40 Indian. But if a customer uses the respective devices for three years, Airtel-Karbonn A40 Indian would cost them Rs. 7,483, whereas the Vodafone-Micromax Bharat 2 Ultra would cost customers Rs. 6,399.

Technically speaking, the Micromax Bharat 2 Ultra comes equipped with a 4-inch WVGA display with a screen resolution of 800 x 480 pixels. Under the hood, the smartphone is powered by a 1.3GHz Speadtrum SC9832 quad-core processor coupled with 512MB of RAM and 4GB of internal storage, which can be further expanded up to 32GB via a microSD card. On the software front, the smartphone runs on Google’s Android 6.0 Marshmallow operating system out-of-the-box. For photography, the Micromax Bharat 2 Ultra features a 2-megapixel rear-facing camera with autofocus and an LED flash module. Talking about its selfie camera, the phone bears a 0.3-megapixel (VGA) front-facing shooter for capturing selfies and video chats.

Connectivity options offered by the Micromax Bharat 2 Ultra include Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, GPS, FM Radio, a 3.5mm audio jack, and a microUSB port for charging and data transfer. Unfortunately, the company has not detailed whether the smartphone offers 4G VoLTE connectivity support too. But it is expected that the Micromax Bharat 2 Ultra will off course support 4G connectivity. On the battery front, the Bharat 2 Ultra comes packed with a decent 1,300mAh battery that is rated to deliver up to 4 hours of talktime and up to 100 hours of standby time.


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