Reliance has issued a clarification that it is not trying to import its JioPhone and the JioPhone 4G feature phones from outside the country. The company added that it is making the devices inside the country in a response to the claims by The Mobile Association (TMA). According to a report by The Economic Times, the association claimed that Reliance was trying to evade import duties by importing the JioPhone and upcoming JioPhone 2 devices through Indonesia. According to the report, Indonesia “is part of a block of 10 Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) countries.” This is significant because as part of the block, India has a free trade pact with the country.
Bhupesh Raseen, the Chairman of the mobile advisory committee at the TMA added, “JioPhone devices are not made in India. As per our understanding, JioPhone devices are all imported from China. The telecom service provider (Jio) is now planning to import large volumes via Indonesia to enjoy 0% customs duty.” TMA went on to add that this would harm the “Make in India” programme where the “local firms have invested hugely.” For the people who are unaware, India imposes 20 percent as basic customs duty on “fully-built smartphones” that are shipped from other markets that are not the part of the block.
Watch: Moto E5 Series First Look
As part of the clarification, Reliance added, “JioPhone 2 to be available at an introductory price of Rs 2,999 from August 15, 2018, is being manufactured in India. JioPhone is also manufactured locally in India now.” These claims come weeks after Reliance announced the JioPhone 2 at its 41st annual AGM. The company is planning to increase the user-base of JioPhone from the current 25 million all the way to 100 million.
TMA went on to add that if Jio was allowed to offer the feature phone “at a much lower price point”, it is likely to render other brands as “uncompetitive and unviable overnight.” The report also pointed out that this may also force Indian brands to stop manufacturing and even shut sales operations completely.