Reliance Jio, which has already upset the contours of telecom service providers’ market in India, is foraying into the manufacturing segment of 4G phones, which may not be surprising but the price at Rs.999 per handset is indeed, and even more shocking.
These phones with 4G LTE or VoLTE-enabled will also feature free voice calls. It is reported that there will be two variants one at Rs.999 and another less than Rs.2,000 and both are likely to be announced this quarter.
"If VoLTE feature phones come into the market, then there won’t be a driving force pushing for the upgrade to smartphones; rather it will be an upgrade from feature phones to VoLTE feature phones. It will be a challenging time for the smartphone market, which could see flat growth in 2017,” Faizal Kawoosa, principal analyst at Cybermedia Research, told Economic Times.
VoLTE feature phones of Jio will contain all apps — Jio Chat, Live TV and video-on-demand, besides Reliance’s digital wallet service, Jio Money Wallet.
With these features, Jio’s VoLTE phones priced at cheapest possible rates in India, where anything free or cheap would outsell in no time, may give a tough challenge to other smartphone manufacturers like Samsung, Apple, Micromax, other medium-range Chinese smartphones like Mi series setc.
From the market point of view, the new VoLTE Reliance phone may become a gamechanger as switch to an LTE phone would become far easier and tempting for nearly 50 million 3G phone users in India. Perhaps, Reliance has studied not merely the market as a service provider but also as a manufacturer in the smartphone segment.