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Airtel offers Rs 6,000 cashback on purchase of new smartphones to counter JioPhone Next, Telecom News, ET Telecom

Airtel offers Rs 6,000 cashback on purchase of new smartphones to counter JioPhone Next
NEW DELHI: Bharti Airtel Friday rolled out a Rs 6,000 cashback for customers who purchase a smartphone priced upto Rs 12,000, a move aimed at countering Reliance Jio’s upcoming JioPhone Next offering which will be available next month.

The initiative is part of Airtel’s ‘Mera Pehla Smartphone’ program that aims to make it easier for more Indians to upgrade to quality smartphones

More than 150 smartphones are eligible under the cashback offer, Airtel said.

To avail of the cashback benefit, a customer needs to recharge with an Airtel prepaid pack of Rs 249 or above continuously (as per pack validity) for a period of 36 months, the Sunil Mittal-led telco said in a statement.

The customer will receive the cashback in two parts — the first installment of Rs 2.000 after 18 months and the remaining Rs 4.000 after 36 months.

“For e.g. A customer opts for a device priced Rs 6000. She enjoys generous data quotas and unlimited calling benefits with every Airtel repaid recharge to unlock a superior smartphone experience. At the end of 36 months, with an attractive cashback benefit of Rs 6000, the customer gets back her entire investment in the device while being able to stay digitally connected,” Airtel said.

Additionally, customers who opt for this program will also be eligible for a one-time screen replacement by Servify, in case of damage. This offers an additional cost-benefit upto Rs 4,800.

Once the customer is on an eligible recharge pack, the screen replacement enrolment can be done on Airtel Thanks App within 90 days period. Customers will also be able to avail of exclusive Airtel Thanks benefits with their prepaid recharges, including free Wynk Music subscription and 30 day trial of Amazon Prime Video Mobile Edition.

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“As millions of customers across India aspire for a quality smartphone for good online experience, our ambition is to make it easier for them to own the device of their choice. We will continue to bring to market a range of interventions as part of this innovative program and enable customers to get on to the digital highway,” said Shashwat Sharma, Director – Marketing & Communications.

Vodafone Idea is likely to report modest sequential gains in quarterly mobile revenue on the back of recent tariff hikes like Airtel’s.

Airtel is trying primarily to protect its nearly 120 million 2G users, who may be vulnerable to Jio’s attempts to attract them to its network with an affordable 4G smartphone.

Jio is claiming that the JioPhone Next — designed with Google — will be the world’s most affordable smartphone with specs associated with far higher-priced devices. Jio recently postponed the launch of its smartphone to around Diwali from September 10.

ET previously reported that Airtel would try to capitalise on the buzz in the market created by Jio to migrate its feature phone users to the 4G network with partner smartphone brands.

Airtel chief executive Gopal Vittal recently said he didn’t believe that the handset subsidy route was the right one, adding that Airtel had clarity on “how to deal with this (JioPhone Next)”. The company had done pilots with original equipment makers (OEMs) for affordable handsets besides partnering with banks to offer lending options to customers, he had said.

“…having said that, it is a competitive industry, we will look at what happens in the marketplace through a combination of good marketing optics and capability and platforms around locks,” Vittal had said.

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