What Reliance JioPhone means for phone makers
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Reliance Jio Infocomm Ltd has unleashed yet another wave of disruption in the Indian telecom space. After forcing rival telecom operators to slash tariffs for voice and data users, the company has now turned its attention to the hardware space—with a 4G-enabled feature phone. Called JioPhone, it will effectively cost a consumer nothing to own one.
What does this mean for phone manufacturers?
For starters, the existing feature phone makers such as Nokia, Intex, Karbonn, Lava, InFocus, Micromax, Zen, iBall, Adcom and Philips will be impacted, because the JioPhone is not only available for a lower initial outlay, it is 4G-capable with unlimited 4G data and optional TV streaming thrown in.
And, while it may be a stretch to say that the JioPhone will impact entry-level Android smartphones, makers of phones priced below Rs5,000, such as Lava, ZTE, Micromax, Intex, and Karbonn may have to take a hard look at prices.
Bookings for the JioPhone start on 24 August, and the devices will be available from September. A refundable security deposit of Rs1,500 has to be paid at the time of booking the phone. The security deposit is to ensure that no one misuses the offer and hoards phones. After 36 months, a JioPhone user will be eligible for a full refund of the security deposit.
JioPhone users will have to pay Rs153 for a plan that will bundle calls, messages and unlimited 4G data. For Rs309 a month, a user can mirror content on the phone to his TV. The JioPhone also supports NFC for secure mobile payments.