Reliance Jio has shrugged off allegations which said that the Mukesh Ambani led telco was not manufacturing JioPhones locally in India, but instead was using alternative trade routes to bring in these devices to save on customs duties. The allegations were put forth by the TMA (The Mobile Association). Jio denied these allegations entirely and said that the devices are manufactured in India only. Bhupesh Raseen, chairman of the mobile advisory committee at TMA said in his statement to ET “JioPhone devices are not made in India. As per our understanding, JioPhone devices are all imported from China. The telecom service provider (Jio) is now planning to import large volumes via Indonesia to enjoy 0% customs duty.”
Raseen further added that if the company were to use the already established trade pact of Asian – block of 10 Association of Southeast Asian Nations – then the move would significantly hurt the government’s Make in India program.
To deal the matter with utmost priority, The Mobile Association (TMA) will also be speaking about the issue to Finance Minister Arun Jaitley. Notably, India has a mandatory custom duty of 20% on smartphones being imported from China.
Reliance Jio also has different plans, as announced earlier this month. The company said that the JioPhone would be sold for Rs 501 in exchange for any feature phone starting July 21. Also, in its Annual General Meeting on July 5, the company announced that it would launch the JioPhone 2, priced at Rs 2,999. With this move Reliance, Jio seeks to increase its JioPhone base from 25 million to 100 million.
A Jio spokesperson said “JioPhone 2 to be available at an introductory price of Rs 2,999 from August 15, 2018, is being manufactured in India. JioPhone is also manufactured locally in India now.”
However, despite Reliance Jio’s best interest, the Mobile Association is worried about the businesses of mobile vendors like Karbonn, Lava, Jivi Mobiles and more. It is of the opinion that if Reliance Jio is allowed to offer its phone at such prices, then the 100 other brands will be rendered “uncompetitive and unviable overnight”. TMA also added that if Reliance Jio is allowed to proceed unabatedly, then these vendors might even have to shut off their operations altogether.
Arpit spends his day closely following the telecom and tech industry. A music connoisseur and a night owl, he also takes a deep interest in the Indian technology start-up scene and spends rest of his time spilling poetry and stories on paper.