Is JioPhone Next really worth the wait? Here's what is causing the delay
Even after a long wait, around five months to be specific, JioPhone Next is still not available for purchase. But why has there been such a long delay in the release? Find out the reason here.
Updated:Wed, November 17, 2021 6:55pm
By Sneha Saha
Reliance Industries head Mukesh Ambani announced Jio's partnership with Google for an "affordable smartphone" last year at the company's Annual General Meeting. A year later, at the AGM 2021, Ambani announced the launch of the JioPhone Next in partnership with the tech giant Google. With the new JioPhone, the aim is to shift the large chunk of feature phone users in India to smartphones.
After such a long wait, around five months to be specific, JioPhone Next is still not available for purchase. And this keeps us wondering -- why has there been months of delay in the release?
Industry experts believe that the global supply chain crisis is to be blamed for the delay in the release of JioPhone Next. Notably, the new JioPhone isn't the only device that has been impacted by the ongoing supply change constraints.
Sharing more insight on the possible reason for the delay in the JioPhone Next release, IDC India's Research Director of Client Devices & IPDS, Navkendar Singh says that devices like JioPhone Next need "volumes and scales, which can be challenging right now considering the supply constraints.
We reached out to Reliance Jio for comment on delivery dates for JioPhone Next but the company didn't provide a specific answer yet. Jio, however, said that currently the pre-bookings are on, and deliveries should begin soon, starting from the metro cities like Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru, among others.
Interested consumers can currently pre-book the JioPhone Next via WhatsApp or the official website. To book the new JioPhone, users can simply save the mobile number 7018270182, open WhatsApp, and search for the contact. Next, send Hi to the contact, the chatbot will share options using which you can register your interest for JioPhone Next. Once the confirmation has been received, you can visit the nearby JioMart retailer to get your JioPhone Next.
Can JioPhone Next grab eyeballs?
Experts do not think so and that's mainly because of the price.
Singh believes that the price (Rs 6,499 down payment price of Rs 1999) is justified from the component and supply BOM point of view but not from the consumer side. "At Rs 6,000+ it is out of reach for most feature phone users," he says.
It is said that at this price point, the JioPhone Next will not give any organic growth by bringing new smartphone users for Jio. The reason begin that the smartphone is not affordable for a large group of feature phone users in the country. Analysts, however, feel that the JioPhone Next may appeal to entry-level smartphone buyers, and so brands like itel, Xiaomi, and Realme might face some competition in Rs 5,000 to Rs 8,000 price segment.
Despite the delay in release and the not so affordable price point, Prabhu Ram, Head of Industry Intelligence Group at CMR Research expects around 4 million JioPhone Next phones to be shipped this year, with the coming year seeing much better sales numbers. "In 2022 and beyond, we foresee a bigger impact for the JioPhone Next with easing of supply chain constraints," he highlights.
Reason for the disappointing price point
Since the launch, there was a lot of expectation from Jio for a lower-priced device especially after how it disrupted the feature phone market with the JioPhone. Unfortunately, consumers were left disappointed.
"With the Rs 1999 down payment, the JioPhone Next brings down the initial cost of device ownership and somewhat lowers the initial barriers of entry into the smartphone segment. But, at the same time, also locks the users for 18 to 24 months in EMIs at a cost that is less lucrative than other available options in terms of total cost ownership. Hence, the overall value proposition falls short of being lucrative to the target customers especially in the entry-level segment," Counterpoint Research's Varun Mishra highlights.
One of the reasons for the more than expected pricing for JioPhone Next is said to be the ongoing component shortages, which are leading to price increases across the smartphone industry. We previously reported that due to chip shortage, phone prices, especially in the entry-level and mid-range segments, are expected to hike until late 2022.
"OEMs, which operate on lower margins, have to pass on this added cost to consumers, resulting in price increases for smartphones across price tiers and brands. Then there are also other costs which have increased, like transportations. This has somewhat affected the pricing strategy for Jio," Mishra explains.