Reliance Jio disrupted the Indian Telecom market last year by offering free voice calls for life and cheap 4G data at dirt low prices, compelling the competitors to offer similar pricing to their mobile subscribers. The bloodbath in the market i.e. the ongoing brutal price war since Jio’s entry is still going on and competitors are feeling the heat of Jio low priced Voice + data bundles. At the moment, only JIO is running the 4G LTE along with VOLTE network successfully, though competitors like Airtel have just started trials for VOLTE.
Reliance Jio though managed to gain millions of subscribers faster than anyone else thanks to free voice and data offers for months, yet they face a roadblock in gaining subscribers as the JIO network needs a 4G VOLTE enabled smartphone which costs at least Rs. 5,000 for a decent device and this entry price is keeping many entry-level subscribers to switch to Jio, who at the moment use 2G networks on the low-cost/budget feature phones. Reliance Jio may get passed this by launching a 4G Volte enabled feature phone, the rumours of which have been in the air for some time.
Now a new report from Business Standard, quoting the brokerage firm HSBC report indicates the feature phone launch is very near at an aggressive price of just Rs. 500 ($8).“Jio is likely to price its 4G feature phone “at a paltry Rs 500 (sub-$8) to lure 2G subscribers to directly switch to 4G”, which implies “Jio subsidising each handset by as much as $10-15 (Rs 650-975)”, Rajiv Sharma, HSBC director and telecoms analyst, said in a note, viewed by Business Standard.
It also suggests that “Reliance Jio Infocomm is likely to unveil new tariff plans as well as a Rs 500 feature phone with VoLTE capabilities at the Reliance Industries’ annual general meeting on July 21 as its 84-day Dhan Dhana Dhan offer — announced on April 11 — is ending soon”.