With the launch of JioPhone, telecom operator Reliance Jio introduced a smart feature phone in the market, which has seen some success. Now, the telco reportedly plans to offer affordable smartphones with large screen displays to cater a larger customer base. These devices will serve as a upgrade for users switching from a feature phone to 4G smartphone. Also Read - Jio 5G launch: How to watch livestream, expected announcements including Jio 5G phone, Jio laptop, moreAlso Read - Jio 5G service: Reliance Jio, Intel partner to develop 5G network for India
We are trying to work with partners who can bring in affordable large screen smartphones for a large mass of customers who are yet to make a shift to a 4G smartphone, so that they can experience the right kind of connectivity as well as the right kind of content on devices which are affordable, Sunil Dutt, head sales, channel development at Reliance Jio, told ET. Also Read - Reliance Jio introduces chatbot to answer questions regarding its 5G phone, laptop and more
Watch: JioPhone First Look
The publication also noted that Jio is in talks with Flex, a US contract manufacturer for locally producing about 100 million smartphones. With this, Jio is aiming to rapidly increase its market share by tapping into users that are now using feature phones.
India has about 500 million feature phone users, and to make them switch, smartphones need to be sold at affordable price points. Jio does work with smartphone makers such as Apple, Samsung, and Xiaomi to name a few, to offer smartphones with bundled voice and data plans, and bring down the effective pricing. But introducing a range of smartphones at affordable price points could help it further.
There are billions of people who are on devices which do not support good data experience or rich content experience, for them we introduced JioPhone to start experiencing more content services of Jio like television, cinema, music, even YouTube, Facebook and WhatsApp. Wherever we feel there are gaps in the market which the people are not able to address or not able to take a risk about because they have their own priorities at times, those are the markets that we will then want to address, Dutt added.
When Jio entered the market, its sister brand Reliance Digital did launch a number of 4G smartphones under LYF brand. They were priced between Rs 3,000 and Rs 20,000. However, the company did not get the required traction in shipment numbers as it had expected. It will be interesting to see how things pan out this time around.