Back in July last year, Mukesh Ambani-led telecom operator Reliance Jio launched JioPhone – its first 4G VoLTE-enabled feature phone. The JioPhone was priced “effectively free” and was launched with an aim of getting the country’s 50 crore feature phone users on to the 4G bandwagon. Well now, the telco is planning to launch large-screen smartphones for those who are still using feature phones.
According to a report by The Economic Times, Reliance Jio is planning to launch 4G smartphones for those who are still stuck with feature phones and want to upgrade to a 4G smartphone but couldn’t because of their price tags.
These 4G smartphones will be affordable and have large screens.
“We are trying to work with partners who can bring in affordable large screen smartphones for a large mass of customers who are yet to make a shift to a 4G smartphone, so that they can experience the right kind of connectivity as well as the right kind of content on devices which are affordable,” said Sunil Dutt, Head Sales, Channel Development, Reliance Jio.
The company plans to launch these affordable 4G smartphones in India next year, but, the timeline for the launch of these smartphones is currently unknown.
ET‘s report further states that Jio is in talks with US-based Flex for manufacturing about 100 Million units of these affordable smartphones in India.
Last year’s JioPhone and this year’s JioPhone 2 are 4G VoLTE-enabled feature phones, but, they come with some smartphone-like features like Google Assistant, Facebook, YouTube, and WhatsApp. These feature phones also support Google Maps that enable users to get navigational directions and search for locations.
Well, even though JioPhone and JioPhone 2 come with some smartphone-like features, at the end of the day, they are not smartphones, because of which their users don’t have access to a huge library of apps which is otherwise available even to the users of entry-level 4G smartphones running Android. With the launch of its affordable 4G smartphones, Jio might be able to help feature phone users make a switch to smartphones, probably causing a surge in the number of smartphone users in India which would result in increased data consumption.