Reliance Jio is going all out to disrupt the lower end of India’s mobile and telecom industry. While the first year of its operations was about making mobile tariffs hit rock-bottom, its second year which began last month has so far been about making handsets inordinately cheaper. Besides offering an “effectively free” JioPhone (that has been bought by six million customers in the first round), Reliance is reportedly slashing prices of its Lyf-branded budget smartphones by half. Also Read - Reliance JioFiber plans with free Voot Select subscription: Check plans, price, and other benefitsAlso Read - JioFiber broadband plans with free Netflix subscription: Check plans, price, data benefits, more
The Lyf C459 and Lyf C451 presently priced at Rs 4,699 and Rs 4,999, respectively; will now be available at around Rs. 2,500, which is also the reported price point for Bharti Airtel’s upcoming low-cost smartphone. Both Lyf models are 4G VoLTE-enabled handsets the variant that has posted high growth in 2017, courtesy Jio’s highly subsidized 4G data offerings. The new offer on Lyf C459 and C451 can be availed both online and offline between October 2 and October 22, according to the report. ALSO READ: Reliance Jio confirms to complete JioPhone delivery by Diwali Also Read - How to get free Netflix subscription: Just follow these steps
Lyf held a market share of 7 percent in 2016 and was among the top five smartphone vendors in the country until September. Overall, 7.6 million Lyf devices were shipped in 2016, according to Counterpoint Research. The entry-level Flame series, and the Water series contributed significantly to the sales. However, with Jio’s wider rollout in September last year, Lyf shipments took a significant hit. While Jio’s low-cost bundled offerings were earlier exclusive to Lyf phones, now the telco had tied up with several device-makers for offers. ALSO READ: JioPhone effect: Vodafone will now offer Rs 900 cash back on Lava feature phones, but here s the fine print
It took the life out of Lyf, and by March 2017, its market share had dropped to 3 percent. As more and more feature-rich-but-low-cost 4G handsets from Chinese manufacturers flooded the domestic market, Lyf’s shipments declined to 0.7 million in Q1 2017 from 1.9 million a year ago, according to IDC data. And by the second and third quarters of this year, the buzz had shifted to the JioPhone Reliance’s 4G feature phone targeted at rural customers. Now, with these new festive-period offers on Lyf, Reliance is attempting to revive demand.