Reliance Jio is likely to launch its 4G VoLTE feature phone by this month. The price of the phone could be as low as Rs 500 , says a report by the Economic Times.
The low-cost VoLTE phone could bring another wave of disruption in the telecom industry, this time in the handset business.
The phone is expected to be launched at the Reliance Industries’ annual general meeting scheduled for July 21. A new tariff plan is also likely as the current Dhan Dhana Dhan offer will end by this month.
The phone will be priced at Rs 500 (sub-USD 8) as the company looks to attract 2G users to 4G, HSBC told ET.
The move will help Jio strengthen its subscriber base. As of April 2017, Jio had 112.55 million subscribers. The limited proliferation of 4G handsets means the company has to focus on getting more people buy such phones.
In India, Jio is the only operator working on a VoLTE-only network. Other players like Bharti Airtel and Vodafone are primarily 2G/3G networks with VoLTE options available in select cities.
Jio has already placed orders for 18-20 million of these phones with key Chinese phone makers like Zhejiang Techchain, Crave and Megaphone, according to the ET report.
The shipments are expected to start from July-end of early August, says the report.
According to previous reports, Jio is planning for sub Rs 1,500 4G VoLTE feature phones. The move would make sense for Jio as the company’s 4G SIM cards are not compatible with 3G smartphones.
On average, a 4G smartphone costs around Rs 3,000. Some of Jio’s Lyf Flame 4G smartphones are available for less than Rs 3,000.
Other domestic players like Micromax and Intex are also working on sub-Rs 2,000 4G smartphones.