Reliance Jio is likely to launch a phone running on Android Go, the low-end OS released by Google to provide minimal services on a mobile phone to the user and make the phone less expensive to make, for handset manufacturers.
This new phone to be launched under the LYF brand will offer 4G VoLTE connectivity and will be manufactured by the chipset maker MediaTek of Taiwan. This move is also aimed at increasing the number of subscribers to its service giving even tougher competition to the existing service providers.
Without doubt, Reliance Jio will offer this cheap phone bundled with its own SIM. This will ensure the entry level costs for the users to own a handset with a mobile service are virtually negligible by any standard.
Almost every other mobile service provider in India has been working on offering phones bundled with talk-time and data at around the Rs 1,500 range. Market observers feel Reliance will use the large volume order it is capable of placing on the Taiwanese phone-maker, to bring the price of the new phone even lower than this. If the company has to absorb some amount of subsidy for this, it may do so even.
The Indian mobile market has been growing and more and more smartphones are being sold. However, there are still a massive 500 million phone users in the country who own only a feature phone. It is this large section of phone users that the company is trying to woo with the new phone.
This column has already dealt with the possibilities the Android Go OS brings to the market and how it is able to bring down the overall cost of the handsets. This is because the phones can do with cheaper models of processors and lower internal storage levels, thereby bringing down the cost of components and therefore the phoneâ€™s final price.