BSNL, Micromax team up to launch Bharat-1 4G VoLTE feature phone at Rs2,200

State-owned telecom operator Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL) has teamed up with local cell phone maker Micromax to launch its first-ever 4G VoLTE feature phone, Bharat-1.

With the Rs2,200 feature phone, both BSNL and Micromax are targeting India's 500 million-strong market that is yet to be tapped. The new 4G VoLTE phone will be available in the market from 20 October.

Bharat 1 comes bundled with a Rs97 monthly-plan from BSNL under which users get unlimited voice calls and data. However, BSNL does not have 4G VoLTE services live as yet.

Micromax's Bharat-1 comes with almost same features as the JioPhone, except for the built-in voice assistant. The Bharat - comes in a candy bar design with alphanumeric keypad and a four-way navigation button at the centre. It has a removable back panel encasing a detachable battery, dual SIM slots and microSD slots. The base has a microUSB port and 3.5mm-audio jack, and the top an LED flash (torch).

Bharat-1 will not be restricted to BSNL's network. The phone can be used on any network, which means a user can put an Airtel SIM into the device. This should be seen as a big advantage over the JioPhone, which is currently restricted to the Jio network.

The advanced 4G phone has a 2.4-inch display and is powered by a Snapdragon processor. The Dual SIM 4G device comes with 512MB RAM and 4GB ROM. It is backed by a 2000mAH battery inside and even features two cameras; 2MP on the back and a VGA quality shooter in the front.

Bharat -1 also comes with the support for 22 different languages. Bharat 1 will be completely manufacture in India.

BSNL says Bharat -1 will come bundled with the Bharat Interface for Money (BHIM) mobile app pre-loaded on the device. The phone will also come a suite of services from BSNL, along with an option to watch live TV on the phone. Since the Bharat -1 is targeted at the feature phone market, BSNL is going aggressive with the data plan.

The telco says users will get unlimited call and internet services at Rs97 per month.

''Both Micromax and BSNL have been working with an aim to bring the next wave of unconnected users on the internet,'' said Rahul Sharma, co-founder of Micromax. ''We will now take this vision forward with Bharat 1 and create a compelling proposition for the users that is a first in the category.''

''We are proud that we are partnering with Micromax, a home-grown player which has been a key player in India's growth journey and has contributed more than 150 million mobile users and this number is ever increasing,'' said Anupam Srivastava, CMD, BSNL. ''Connecting the last mile– to the internet and relevant information – is an important part of the strategy for both BSNL and Micromax. We are confident that Bharat 1 will help millions of users experience the data and calling experience like never before,'' added Srivastava.