Mukesh Ambani-led Reliance Industries is looking at attempting Monsoon Hungama yet again in a bid to attract millions of users to its telecom venture Reliance Jio Infocomm. The company is looking to launch feature phones with voice over LTE (VoLTE) capability to tap the rural and tier-III markets for its data services and mobile business.
According to a report by Economic Times, pricing for these devices could be as low as Rs 1,000 and will come bundled with unlimited voice and video calling, alongside digital content. There will be two feature phones, according to reports, priced at Rs 1,000 and Rs 1,500, and they could hit the market in the first quarter of 2017.
The VoLTE feature phones will have a keypad, front-facing and rear cameras and will run on a lighter version of Android operating system. These handsets will come with Jio’s content applications such as Jio Chat, Live TV and video on demand. Jio will push its digital wallet service, Jio Money Wallet, through these feature phones.
“Jio wants to tap all the segments in the country and sees huge potential in the rural areas, which it now aims to tap with VoLTE feature phones…The new devices will be aimed at first-time data users. “The 2G feature phone is still a big market in India,” a source was quoted as saying by the publication.
Reliance Jio is the only telco with a VoLTE network in India. It added over 25 million subscribers in the shortest time starting from September 5, and it is now trying to quickly reach the target of 100 million users. The report said that Jio is working with him-bred handset maker Lava International and Chinese OEMs to manufacture these feature phones. The telco will subsidise a part of the selling price to make the 4G feature phones at Rs 1,000.
The initial handsets could have branding from Jio and Lava and will be sold through their respective retail channels to reach a larger audience.