LYF brand has become the third largest LTE smartphone provider with 13% market share in the first quarter of 2016, according to data released by Cyber Media Research (CMR). Reliance Jio’s 4G services which come bundled with LYF smartphones has been the only driver for LYF’s growth in the quarter. Under the LYF smartphone, Reliance offers a number of Voice over LTE (VoLTE) ready smartphones with prices starting from Rs 3,999.
Reliance is currently sourcing these smartphones from Chinese original device makers (ODMs) ZTE, C K Telecom, WingTech and Tinno. Earlier, market research firm IDC had also come up with a similar study which said that Reliance grew sharply and replaced Lava as the fifth largest smartphone vendor with huge shipments of 4G devices in the first quarter of 2016.
In a note, CLSA, has also said that Reliance LYF has a potential to become a $1 billion brand in India, as it is well positioned to benefit from the launch of Jio’s 4G services as well as the ongoing smartphone boom in India. It added that Reliance Retail’s strong distribution network, better brand appeals at entry level, and initial bundling of Jio's 4G services could significantly push LYF handset sales in the counter.
According to CMR’s quarterly LTE report, Samsung and Lenovo were the top two LTE smartphone vendors in the quarter with 32% and 14% market share, respectively. It added that China’s LeEco had made an impressive entry in first quarter with 2.4% share in 4G smartphones.
CMR data suggested that over 15.8 million 4G devices were shipped in the first quarter of 2016. Of these, 97.9% were smartphones followed by data cards at 1.5% and the remaining 0.6% were tablet PCs. This amounts to 63% of the cellular devices shipped through the quarter.
In 4G tablets, Samsung, Apple and iBall were the three leading brands with 58%, 16% and 12% market shares, respectively. “The smartphone industry was the first to bank upon the 4G wave. Now as the services go live with multiple operators, it is the time for other devices to ride on the growth path,” Faisal Kawoosa, Lead Analyst for Telecoms at CMR, said in a statement.
“DataCards have already started showing this trend as in the first quarter of 2016, itself, we saw 0.5% increase in its contribution to the overall LTE devices compared to 1% of CY 2015. We see this strengthening more as the year progresses. However, tablets are lagging behind and they need to ramp up at the earliest,” Kawoosa added.
Huawei, ZTE and Micromax were the only three players shipping 4G data cards in the quarter, the firm said. These players had 40%, 31% and 29%, share, respectively, in the LTE data card market space.
CMR analyst for Telecoms, Krishna Mukherjee, said, “While every emerging devices brand in India prefers Smartphones for obvious potential growth reasons, we see number of brands shipping Tablets and DataCards on the decline. This is leading to the lesser option for consumers in Tablets and DataCards in particular.”
“There’s headroom for growth for other 4G devices as well and it is time for India brands to emerge strongly in these device categories too,” Mukherjee added.