NEW DELHI: As the demand for smart feature phones surges, Reliance Jio has been the fastest to capture the market and has sold around 5 crore units of Jio Phone, according to Counterpoint Research. “Out of more than 100 million subscribers that Reliance Jio added since the Jio Phone launch in late 2017, the KaiOS powered 4G smart feature phone contributes close to half of those net additions," a report by the research firm said.
Boasting of smartphone-like features, access to YouTube, WhatsApp and Facebook, and 4G network, Jio Phone has already captured 38% of the feature phone market in India.
The market report described the VoLTE-supported KaiOS-based smart feature phone as the current exemplar of a smart feature phone value proposition and execution globally.
Reliance Jio has been fastest to see the opportunity in the segment with its ‘India ka Smartphone’ and adopt the platform to acquire tens of millions of 2G feature phone users, the report said.
Jio Phone was launched in 2017 at a refundable price of ₹1,500 and Jio Phone 2 for ₹2,999 in 2018. Till July last year, Reliance had sold 25 million units of the phone.
In 2018, global smart feature phone demand grew 252% year on year with India being the biggest contributor to this demand, according to the research report.
“We estimate that smart feature phones will cross more than half of global feature phone volumes by 2021," says Tarun Pathak, Associate Director at Counterpoint Research.
Over the next three years, nearly 370 million smart feature phones are expected to be sold across the world, according to Counterpoint Research. This will introduce an entirely untapped customer base to high-speed internet, apps, and services and, in doing so, open a whole host of new business and revenue opportunities for the entire mobile value chain.