While Reliance Jio appeared to have disrupted the Indian ISP market with its heavily subsidized tariffs for availing data and to make free calls on its platform, the company has now revisited its plans. One of the shortcomings reported with their service is that it is a 4G only service.
A large part of the Indian mobile phone user community still uses feature phones which have only 2G capability. Jio did find its subscriber growth slowing down.
To address this gap, there is a report that Reliance might launch a feature phone probably in the same Lyf brand it had used earlier. This feature phone would be provided with the 4G VoLte connectivity option so that the buyers can tap into the company‚Äôs service.
What has come as a surprise is the prediction that Jio may price this device at just Rs.500.
It must be noted that the price indication has come from a senior analyst from HSBC in a sectoral research note. There are others who believe the price might actually be a higher, in the Rs 1, 200 to Rs 1, 300 range.
There is also speculation on the timing of the release of the subsidized phone; the company‚Äôs annual general meeting (AGM) is being held on the July 21 and it is expected that Chairman Mukesh Ambani may use the occasion to make the announcement. Some say it may actually happen only in August.
There are also other details about the phone. It is expected that the feature phone will have a 2.4-inch display; the internal memory will be 4GB which can be expanded via a microSD card. The RAM will be 512MB and the device will also sport front and rear cameras for whatever it is worth.
The rear camera will be of 2MP and the front one a simple VGA sensor. The connectivity part has already been discussed above. The reports also suggest that this new phone to be launched by Jio will be sold in 2 variants as far as the processor is concerned. One will be powered by a Qualcomm processor and the other by a Spreadtrum processor.
Once the customer buys the phone and subscribes to one of their plans he or she can enjoy the normal services, including the fee calls and messaging as is being extended to the existing customers.
While on Jio, there might be an announcement on a new broadband service the company is planning to launch soon.