With Reliance Jio having migrated to a tariff-based regime for making calls from its network to other networks, the company is rumoured to be considering offering customers a feature phone that does not have internet connectivity and can only be used for voice calls.
Though there has been a denial from the company to a media report on this, observers feel it may make sense for the company to give this option some consideration.
For starters, it cannot be denied that there is a large mobile phone user community in India that uses only the feature phones and not smartphones. It appears Reliance had claimed there were 500 million users of feature phones in India. The company had earlier launched a feature phone Jio Phone and followed it up with another, Jio Phone 2 with limited data connectivity provisions and features. That number may not hold in today’s context. A lot of migration to entry level smartphones must have taken places, largely due to the cheap data packs that Jio has been offering.
On the plan to launch a new feature phone, the report says the phone may be called Jio Phone Lite and will be priced below Rs 500. It could be Rs 400 even and bundled with a minimum monthly (28 days) validity pack of Rs 50. This will enable the user to make calls within the Jio network free of cost and for outside the network, to Airtel or Vodafone Idea the tariff will apply.
The media report had said the company is conducting a survey with the retailers on this. Since the company has denied the report it can be assumed that there may be a proposal and no decision has been made on it yet.