Reliance Jio is all set to strengthen its position in the budget smartphone market with plans of selling 20 crore (200 million) 4G feature phones in the next two years. The company has set the price estimate for the handset to be around Rs 1,000 to Rs 1,500 while it iremains unknown if Reliance Retail or Jio would undertake marketing for this product.
The feature phones are expected to come pre-installed with native apps like Jio TV and Jio Money. Sources close to Reliance have confirmed that the phone lacks touchscreen feature like smartphones, but will include basic connectivity options like Wi-Fi and also allow users to stream JioTV content on television, PTI reported.
The company is reportedly targeting 2G users who cannot afford expensive smartphones and are paying high call rates. The source added that Jio's voice calls will be free which will allow these budget-conscious consumers to buy the handsets at extremely affordable prices.
Reliance Jio is already in talks with Intex and Foxconn to make these phones in India to bring down their selling price further.
"Around 10 million units are being planned for initial sales and the company has plans to increase inventory to 100 million in the first year and another 100 million next year. Discussions have started with Foxconn and Intex to make these phones in India," the source said.
"Intex will bid for a state government tender which has huge requirement of low-cost mobile phone, but it wants bidder to come with a service provider. The economy of scale is enough to bring down the cost of phone. The discussion with RIL started for this tender and is now moving in direction for low-cost 4G feature phones," the source added.
Jio is expected to use the latest Qualcomm chipsets in its 4G phones, which are expected to launch in second half of August. The company has declined to comment on the details of the development, but here is what Intex said: "...we are exploring various business opportunities, including those with Reliance Jio, and would keep you updated about the details as they materialise. We also keep participating in various state governments' tenders and are always keen to work with them."