Mumbai: Reliance Jio could launch a 4G VoLTE feature phone and this is something that has been talked about for quite sometime.
Since the Jio 4G service went live, there have been several reports, leaks showcasing this so called Reliance Jio 4G feature phone. Now a latest report from Economic Times has claimed Reliance Jio will launch a 4G VoLTE feature phone for the market at price of Rs 500.
The Economic Times report is quoting an HSBC analyst report by Rajiv Sharma, HSBC director and telecoms analyst, who says in the report “Jio will likely launch a feature phone with 4G capability at a price of Rs 500 (sub-$8).” This will be done to draw the 2G subscribers in India, and the report adds Jio will be subsidizing on the actual price.
The report also says Reliance Jio has “placed orders for 18-20 million of the 4G VoLTE feature phones” and has tied up with some key Chinese manufacturers, and that these could be delivered by July end. The report says the launch might take place on August 15. Reliance Jio has never officially commented on this issue.
Reliance Jio 4G VoLTE feature phone is something we’ve heard about for quite a while now. The reason given for this is that Reliance Jio’s network is entirely on 4G VoLTE, and thus leaves out the large majority of feature phone audience in India. Most features phones only support 2G networks in India, though Lava and Micromax had recently launched feature phones with 4G capabilities. However, these devices are priced in the Rs 3,000 and above range.
A feature phone at Rs 500 could be truly disruptive, especially if it comes with 4G VoLTE capability. Reliance Jio, which already has, over 100 million subscribers in India, has seen growth slowdown. If it gets the wave of 2G subscribers, it could mean further bad news for its rivals, which have been struggling. Jio’s entry in the market also started a data price war, with Vodafone, Airtel, Idea Cellular all offering extra data to customers at lower prices.
However, it should be remembered that a 4G VoLTE feature phone will come with limited features. At the end of the day, the idea with 4G data is that a user consumes it to watch content, and we’ve seen video consumption grow in India with improved mobile data connectivity. A feature phone which can’t run apps will have limited usage.
Reports have speculated Jio might load it with its own apps, including JioTV, etc, but most feature phones have small screens, and the experience won’t be ideal.
Reliance Jio 4G VoLTE feature phone at Rs 500 sounds like a really disruptive idea, but whether it turns out to be true is something we’ll have to wait and see.