Reliance Jio has launched a keenly awaited 4G handset that could bring lower-cost 4G services within reach of millions of Indian consumers.
Announced at the annual general meeting of the parent company Reliance Industries, the JioPhone requires consumers to deposit just 1500, which can be claimed back three years later on returning the device. The JioPhone device itself is to be manufactured in India in keeping with the government's Make in India policy initiative. The plan is to make it available for user testing from August 15 and for prebooking from August 24 onwards. Device features are to include near-field connectivity, four-way navigation, an alphanumeric keyboard, a memory-card slot, a microphone, and FM radio. The phone will also come preloaded with applications like Jio Cinema and Jio Music.
Above all, the JioPhone looks sure to have an impact on the profits of incumbents including Bharti Airtel Ltd., Vodafone India, and Idea Cellular Ltd. With the launch of the JioPhone, those players may have to develop new strategies for customer retention. Even today, a significant number of an incumbent operator's subscribers will be on 2G-only deals.