Reliance Jio, India's number one telecom operator is expected to roll out 5G very aggressively because of multiple factors (we will not go into that again today). This could also mean that Jio would again launch a new very affordable 5G smartphone or 5G feature phone for the Indian market. It should most likely be a smartphone because, after JioPhone Next's launch, it is clear that Jio understands the era of feature phones is fading away and it is smartphones that are going to be in demand the most. To prepare a market that is ready to consume its 5G services, Jio could launch an affordable 5G smartphone with prepaid packs specially tailored for 5G network services. How these plans would look like is completely unknown and the telco hasn't given any hint on that.
JioPhone Next with 5G Connectivity Support Could Come Soon
JioPhone 1 came back in August 2017, which was not even a year from when Jio launched 4G network services within India. If the telco goes by the same trend, it could launch a 5G smartphone (affordable in nature) pretty soon after the 5G network launch. One thing that's already a bonus for the telcos this time is that millions of Indians already own 5G smartphones.
These low-cost 5G smartphones would actually help Jio in penetrating the market deeper. Most 5G smartphones today are sold in the mid-range and premium range. Jio could actually just launch the 5G version of the JioPhone Next. It would be slightly disappointing because the performance of JioPhone Next was quite underwhelming and its cost was also more than what the market expected.
But bundling 5G services with a Jio-SIM locked smartphone could propel Jio towards a larger subscriber market share in the 5G era very easily. Most Indian consumers still don't know what to expect from 5G services so it will be interesting to see how many would upgrade really fast. It would also be interesting to see how Bharti Airtel would counter this situation as the telco has already said that it would launch its own smartphones, instead, it would work with several smartphone vendors to offer subsidies to consumers for upgrading their devices.