With ultra low-cost 4G data plans, free voice calls and a wide range of affordable VoLTE smartphones, Reliance Jio’s entry has provided the much-needed impetus to data revolution in the country. Even as Reliance Jio has raced past 72 million subscribers in just four months of launch, RIL’s retail arm now claims to have sold over 7 million LYF-branded smartphones since its launch in January 2016.
According to Sunil Dutt, president – devices, Reliance Retail, the company has sold 2.8 million devices, including accessories, in the last three months. “We will concentrate across (price) levels… challenge ahead will be to improve customer focus,” ET quotes Sunil as saying.
Reliance’s latest figures corroborate recent reports by market research firms like IDC. According to an IDC report as on November 2016, Reliance Jio was at the fifth position in the third quarter of 2016 with a healthy 20.9 percent growth over the previous quarter. “With the commercial launch of Reliance Jio Service with attractive introductory offer, the LYF branded smartphones saw a sharp demand with reports of stock outs at some locations. Apart from its entry level Flame series, Water series also contributed to the growth in Q3 2016,” said the IDC report.
While Reliance has been going strong in the affordable smartphone categories, the company is reportedly mulling over low-cost feature phones with VoLTE support. According to a few media reports earlier this week, the company is planning to launch a VoLTE-enabled feature phone for under Rs 1,500.
According to analysts, the 4G VoLTE-based feature phones from Reliance Jio could be priced between Rs 999 and Rs 1,500. “If VoLTE feature phones come into the market, then there won’t be a driving force pushing for the upgrade to smartphones; rather it will be an upgrade from feature phones to VoLTE feature phones. It will be a challenging time for the smartphone market, which could see flat growth in 2017,” Faizal Kawoosa, principal analyst at Cybermedia Research told ET.
Reliance Jio yesterday announced its third quarter report for 2016. The operator says it has gone past 72.4 million subscribers since its commercial launch in 2016. It’s not all rosy for the company, as it continues to face interconnection congestion issues with incumbent operators.
“The POI capacity provided by these operators is still way below requirement and is falling short of the customer addition pace of Jio, resulting in quality of service issues for Indian customers. The resultant call failure rates continue to be of the order of 175 calls failing out of every 1,000 calls from Jio to Airtel network when the QoS regulations mandate that no more than 5 calls out of every 1,000 calls can fail,” the company said in its report.