A few weeks back, we heard some rumors mentioning Reliance to launch feature phone with VoLTE support. Though there is very little information at that time, now we got some update. The device will be launched at just Rs. 999 and includes unlimited voice and video calls for a limited time. Since Jio works on VoLTE supported devices, it might not acquire more market share in the rural areas where not many of them will be using 4G smartphones. While the feature phone market is decreasing day by day, still it has a substantial market share in the emerging markets like India. Almost 65% of the mobile phone users in India still uses feature phones. By launching the affordable feature phone, the company might gain a little more market share that helps in reaching its 100 million subscriber mark by the time of commercial launch.
While there are some decent feature phones from Nokia and Samsung, they can only support 3G HSPA with which Jio 4G SIM will not be compatible. Even the pricing will be a key factor since not many will be purchasing a new phone just to use Jio 4G SIM. Reliance’s 4G smartphone brand, LYF also launched cheapest 4G smartphones priced at just Rs. 2,999. These devices can be a good alternative for the first time smartphone users who are restricted with a limited budget. This is also the time, most of the Indians will be shifting from feature phone to a smartphone and Jio’s basic Rs. 150 plan offers unlimited night data (2am – 5am), voice calls, and SMS. Now the same plans cannot be offered for feature phone users as most of them might never do a recharge of Rs.150 per month.
Apart from the Rs. 999 priced feature phone, the company might also bring one more device priced at Rs. 1,500 with upgraded specifications. Both these devices will be launched in early 2017 and offer browsing internet along with making voice and video calls. Lava and Chine based OEM will be manufacturing these devices and are said to cost Rs. 2,500 per unit. The same device will be subsidized by Jio to bring the selling price as low as Rs. 999. These phones will not be launched under LYF brand, instead, they will come with Jio and Lava branding. As we earlier mentioned, the device will be powered by Spreadtrum processors. Just like the regular smartphone, we can find the rear and front cameras. Instead of the touchscreen, the devices will be equipped with the keyboard though we are not sure whether there will be a T9 or QWERTY keyboard.
The Jio apps like Jio Wallet, Jio Play, and Jio Music will be pre-installed on the devices. All these details are yet to be confirmed by the company official, so take this with a pinch of salt until the official launch. If you are looking for affordable mobile phones that support Jio 4G SIM, take a look at the LYF Flame series smartphones that are currently retailing at just Rs. 2,999. These devices come with Jio Welcome Offer including unlimited 4G data (FUP@4GB), voice calls, and SMS. All the Jio suite of apps will be available for Jio users for free until December 2017.