Reliance Jio, is set to get more visibility in the market ahead of its commercial launch, as the telco’s sister company, Reliance Retail, will rebrand its 1,500 small-format Reliance Digital Express and Digital Express Mini outlets as Reliance Jio, Economic Times reported.
The report said that the retail push strategy comes amid slow sales of Reliance's Lyf handsets. Reliance Jio stores will be the front-end to sell both 4G connections and devices in the run up to the telecom arm's launch expected in October. Reliance Retail’s Lyf business head Sunil Dutt, who earlier served BlackBerry and Samsung, poached 40-50 mid-level executives from Samsung to build his team. "Lyf suffered initially because the company did not push sales," an industry executive was quoted as saying by the report.
Reliance Retail is the country's largest consumer electronics retailer with 1,748 outlets in over 500 cities as of March 2016. The publication said that the large format Reliance Digital stores will continue its existing format as multi-brand electronics store but will also sell Lyf handsets and connections amongst others.
Reliance Retail’s Lyf brand has become the fifth-largest brand among smartphones in India with 7% share in the January-March quarter by shipments and is the second largest in the 4G segment after Samsung, according to Counterpoint Technology Market Research.
Reliance Jio recently allowed its group employees, who had got the trial SIM earlier, to bring 10 more people to the 4G network. The invite, which has to be sent by a RIL employee, allows people to buy a LYF phone, which will come bundled with free unlimited 4G data and voie for three months. However, buyers of LYF-branded smartphones from Reliance Retail will still have to wait more to get the Reliance Jio SIM card.