A 4G ‘smartphone’ for the price of a McDonald’s Big Mac meal? An Indian company just launched it

One of Asia’s biggest telecom companies has released a new mobile phone that aims to convince hundreds of millions of consumers in India to make the jump from 2G to 4G. Jio Bharat costs a mere 999 Indian Rupees (about £10, US$12, AU$18) making it by far the cheapest 4G handset in the world right now. 

It is not technically a smartphone, as it doesn’t run on a mainstream mobile operating system (e.g. Android) but the Jio Bharat does share a subset of features including the ability to handle mobile payments (via Reliance’s support for UPI – an instant payment system developed by National Payments Corporation of India) and JioCinema and JioSaavn, the company’s own proprietary movie and music services. There’s no Facebook though, or WhatsApp or any of the popular applications that are now staple items for modern smartphones.

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