Lava Mobiles has launched 4G Connect M1, a 4G-enabled feature phone priced at Rs 3,333, reports PTI. The company claims that it is the first ever device maker in India to launch a 4G supported feature phone, which has the Voice over LTE (VoLTE) feature. The phone also supports other 2G bands including EDGE connectivity and comes preloaded with messaging apps like Facebook Lite, added the report.

The new model comes loaded with 1.2 GHz Quad-core processor, 512 MB of RAM, internal storage memory of 4GB (expandable), and a 1750 mAh battery. The device does not sport a touch interface but has a 2.4-inch display with a basic resolution of 320 x 240 pixels. The company added that the phone would be available for sale across retail stores and multi-brand outlets in India within a “few weeks’ time”. However, it is not clear if the phone would be available for purchase online; MediaNama has written to Lava seeking more details.

No support for 3G?

The report does not specify whether 4G Connect M1 supports 3G bands as well, and it looks like the company skipped including these. We have inquired about this in our query to Lava. However, if true, a device with no 3G support could be a downer to some users since 4G connectivity isn’t always reliable at particular places and as of now, only Reliance Jio has 4G connectivity in all 22 circles it operates in. Vodafone has 4G in 17 circles, Airtel has 4G in 21 circles, while Idea claims 4G in 10 circles.

Interestingly, Lava’s feature phone launch comes at a time when Reliance Jio-owned mobile brand LYF is expected to launch its own 4G supported feature phone, which is rumored to be priced as low as Rs 1,000. Telecom operators have also started investing heavily on 4G expansion to keep up with the hyper-competitive market, and a low-cost 4G device is something that could be a hit amongst consumers with low-income margins.

Currently, LYF sells 4G-supported ‘smartphones’ at a lower price of Rs 2,999; smart consumers might prefer a LYF phone over the Lava which is priced significantly higher. Although the price difference is not much, it matters to Indian consumers who largely have multiple SIM cards. During a recent analyst call, Airtel CEO Sunil Mittal said that “there is a big difference between a Rs 1000, Rs 1200 and a Rs 2200 phone even in a market like India.” He added that 4G feature phones are likely to appeal to users who prefer voice calls at cheaper rates.