Home >Companies >Reliance Jio’s LYF phones miss Diwali launch, sale restricted to staff

Mumbai: Reliance Jio Infocomm Ltd, the telecom service unit of billionaire Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL), handed out its LYF branded mobile phones to some of its employees at a discounted price but its plan to sell the handsets through the Digital Xpress stores of a sister company by Diwali has failed to take off.

Store managers at Digital Xpress stores—the electronic device retailing stores under Reliance Retail Ltd where these phones were to be sold from Diwali said there has been no official communication from the company on the launch date.

Four store managers in Mumbai said the launch will take some time as they have not yet received the paperwork which is handed over to the stores before a launch. “It should be available with us in a few weeks’ time but so far there is no official communication from the company," said a Reliance Digital Xpress store manager. He did not wish to be named as he is not authorized to speak on behalf of the company.

However, some employees are being given the option of buying the phones at a discount, said a consultant who works with Reliance Jio.

On 16 October, during the firm’s quarterly earnings announcement, Reliance Jio officials had said that the firm will be launching fourth generation (4G) compatible smartphones by Diwali under the brand name LYF with prices ranging from 9,000 to 32,000 per handset. The phones will be marketed by Reliance Retail, the retailing arm of RIL, and will available across Digital Xpress stores and other multi-brand outlets.

“We are targeting the Diwali season to bring them to the stores and will be available across price segments," said Sunil Dutt, products head, Reliance Jio, during the company’s second quarter results conference.

The company had also informed analysts during an analyst meet on 16 October that the phones will see a nationwide Diwali launch.

The consultant cited above said the firm is in the process of launching the phones for the employees who can buy them at a discounted price from Diwali onwards. “The employees might also be given Reliance Jio sim cards as well so that they can immediately start using them," he said on condition of anonymity.

This is the first step towards the plans of a countrywide launch of the LYF branded phones by Reliance Jio which will be “progressively available" across hundreds of Digital Xpress stores of the company over the next couple of weeks, he said.

A mail sent to Reliance Jio on Monday did not elicit a response.

The consultant said Reliance Jio plans to enter the market with four main variants of the phones in the first phase. The most expensive variant will be called LYF Earth 1, which is likely to be sold for 30,000. The other three variants will be called LYF Water 1, LYF Water 2 and LYF Water 3.

Dutt, during the conference on 16 October said, the company will be sourcing the phones from China and over the next 2-3 years, will also look at manufacturing them in India.

Reliance Jio, which plans to launch its 4G telecom services across all 22 telecom circles (areas) by the end of the current fiscal, has a unified telecom service licence across India with access to 2,300 MHz frequency band in all 22 circles, 1,800 MHz band across 20 circles and 800 MHz band across 10 circles.

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