Reliance Jio has emerged as the leading feature phone brand in the country. Counterpoint Research says the feature phone market in India doubled during the first quarter of 2018 and Jio now commands a market share of 35.8 percent, which is three times higher than the second-placed Samsung.
Reliance Jio had launched the JioPhone as the smart feature phone last year and it received over 6 million registrations before the company decided to stop the registrations citing high demand. Since it became available on platforms like Amazon India and via offline retail channels, Jio has been growing faster than its peers in the feature phone market. Now, financial service firm Credit Suisse estimates that around 40 million units of JioPhone have been sold so far. The firm states that the increased acceptance of JioPhone could act as a potential threat to the subscriber base of incumbent telcos in the country.
Credit Suisse sees the feature phone as a meaningful contribution to Reliance Jio’s growth rates. The firm sees more demand for the smart feature phone with the potential release of WhatsApp for KaiOS, the software that powers JioPhone.
“This is a product that has passed the early adopter stage and is getting well accepted – and that should be a reason for worry for the incumbents. Sooner than later, it could start eating into installed subscriber base of incumbents,” Credit Suisse said in its report.
According to Counterpoint Research, JioPhone leads the feature phone segment with a market share of nearly 36 percent. The data shows that it is followed by Samsung with 9.8 percent market share while Itel and Nokia are at No 3 and No 4 with a market share of 9.4 percent and 7.3 percent respectively. Credit Suisse says this data implies JioPhone sales to have been around 21 million units during the first quarter of 2018 alone. The number indicates that Reliance Jio might be selling an average of 7 million units every month.
Watch: Reliance JioPhone First Look Video
With JioPhone, Reliance Jio has also launched different tariff plans that are exclusive to the feature phone. Credit Suisse says it is not able to understand whether JioPhone is eating into the market of others, reports Economic Times. The JioPhone is available for Rs 1,500 and those who make mandatory recharge of Rs 153 every month get that money as cashback over a period of 36 months, bringing the effective cost down to zero.