Two of the country’s top telecom operators — Bharti Airtel and Vodafone India — on Thursday announced tie-ups with Korean handset giant Samsung to offer a select range of 4G smartphones at affordable costs with attractive cashback offers. It is the first partnership by both the operators with a foreign handset maker. Previously, Bharti brought out similar offers on entry-level 4G smartphones with domestic handset makers Karbonn, Intex and Celkon, whereas Vodafone tied up with Micromax and itel Mobile to launch similar offers. Under the latest offers, both the operators are giving cashback of Rs 1,500 with 4G handsets. Under its ‘Mera Pehla Smartphone’ initiative, Bharti is offering Samsung’s Galaxy J-series range – J2 (2017), J5 Prime, J7 Prime, and J7 Pro – with cashback offers, thereby bringing down the effective price of the device, starting from Rs 5,490. All devices will come bundled with Airtel’s special recharge pack of Rs 199 that offers 1GB data/day and unlimited calling. The Rs 1,500 cashback will be disbursed to customers over 24 months. At the end of 12 months, customers who have done recharges (in any denomination of their choice) worth Rs 2,500, will be eligible for the first installment of Rs 300. They will be eligible for the second installment of Rs 1,200 if they make recharges worth Rs 2,500 over the next 12 months.
The offer is available across India starting January 7 and customers can purchase the smartphones from any Samsung retailer and get the recharges done at any Airtel retailer. After-sales support for the device will be provided by Samsung through its service network. On the other hand, Vodafone is offering Samsung’s Galaxy J2 Pro, Galaxy J7 Nxt and Galaxy J7 Max with a cashback offer of Rs 1,500, bringing down the effective price to Rs 6,990. To avail of the cashback, pre-paid subscribers have to recharge with Rs 198 per month for 24 months, which would give them unlimited voice calls and 1GB data/day. The customer can also do any other recharge cumulating to Rs 198 per month. However, post-paid customers need to opt for any one of Vodafone’s Red Plans. At the end of the first 12 months, users will receive a cashback of Rs 600 and after another 12 months, a cashback of Rs 900, respectively.
The cashback will be credited to their Vodafone M-Pesa wallets. Vodafone’s offers will be launched across different locations later this month. These partnerships are part of a series of developments in the last 3-4 months where operators have tied up with handset manufacturers to launch affordable 4G smartphones to encourage feature phone users to upgrade their devices. It is also to counter Reliance Jio’s 4G feature phone, which is available free of cost, albeit with a security of Rs 1,500 for three years. In November, Jio announced a partnership with Xiaomi to offer the Chinese handset maker’s Redmi 5A, offering a cashback of Rs 1,000.