Do we really need a 4G phone for Rs 1500, but can’t offer a good experience? Naah

First time users, for whom a smartphone will be their first computing device, will need a rich video experience.

Written by Nandagopal Rajan | Updated: January 18, 2017 4:29 pm
4G, 4G VoLTE smartphone, 4G VoLTE phone, Rs 2000 4G phone, Reliance, Reliance Jio 4G feature phone, Reliance Jio 4G phone, 4G feature phone, 4G smartphones, 4G data rates, What is 4G So, do we really need a cheap 4G phone with VoLTE? Well the answer is a resounding no, and here’s why. (Representational Image. Source: Reuters)

So, do we really need a cheap 4G phone? This question has been bugging me ever since reports started coming out that companies are trying their best to achieve price points between Rs 999 and Rs 2,000. Some are apparently making a 4G feature phone. Why, I have no clue.

Yes, the question is what will we achieve with a cheap phone with 4G, a technology that is meant to improve your experience at every level. Most smartphone makers have had to upgrade to cope up with the requirements of 4G when it comes to call quality and high speed data. But if you are going to create a phone that will strip out most of the features so as to reach a certain price point it will be defeating the purpose of the technology. Worse, it will be cheating the buyers.

4G LTE offers high-speed internet on smartphones and this has resulted in a jump in video consumption across the world, where these networks are available. Of course, browsing is faster but the bigger impact is clearly on video. It can also improve call quality by bringing in HD audio. But buyers will benefit from 4G only if they have a good, and large screen to consume video and a handset that is capable of HD audio calls. I doubt a phone that is priced under Rs 2,000 will be able to offer either.

Anyway, who are we targeting with such a device? If this is a first time user, then the device has to be good enough to make him consume the content he needs and enjoy the experience. It can’t be an apology of a smartphone, a 4G SIM card holder. Like what are we trying to achieve by offering a 4G feature phone? It is not as if the user can speak faster on 4G or finish a conversation 25 per cent quicker.

Also read: Reliance Jio now offering paid 4G Booster, SMS and ISD packs to users

There is also a big issue in smartphone makers taking the call that entry level users can do with low-end devices that are not really up to the mark. The first time users, for whom a smartphone will be their first and maybe only computing device, will need the rich video experience and not the stripped down textual experience that a low specifications phone will offer. As we have seen with the consumption patterns from Google’s free Wi-Fi hotspots at railway stations, people who cross the device and affordability threshold will end up consuming more data in the form of video.

With some of these conversations, technology companies need to start thinking about usability and user experience instead of just trying to tick the cheapest option box. The latter might actually end up impacting their industry negatively in the long run. If they do want to offer affordability, it should be without cutting corners too much.

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  1. V
    Vikash Kumar
    Aug 2, 2017 at 5:36 pm
    Jio mob. 1500 wala booking
    Reply
  2. A
    Anon
    Jan 18, 2017 at 10:36 am
    If phones are made cheaply , and also sold to crores of Indians then rs1500 is not a small no . It will partially subsidise the cost of the phones. Imagine the chineese video games sold in the market at rs 100. lt;br/gt;Also the androids are too chunky and behave like a computer . If a cool and cute minimal feature phone is made with a video app, payment app etc it will be taken up by many . lt;br/gt;Also I think the telecom companies want to upgrade w all speed . So there will be no 2G or 3G even if you want . And Ofcource 4G will be a lot slower than what the companies will say.
    Reply
  3. R
    Rambabu
    Jan 18, 2017 at 9:04 pm
    You are correct but the thing is in our country we have more number of people without smartphones and to capture that area of business they are releasing them but not for any social welfare or bringing revolution to market..They just want to capture the telecom business which is Hugh in India.
    Reply
  4. V
    Venkatraman Shenoy
    Jan 18, 2017 at 3:40 pm
    Would this writer have written this article if the 4G smartphone was priced at Rs.3000/?
    Reply
  5. R
    Ravi Kumar
    Mar 24, 2017 at 7:24 am
    1500
    Reply
  6. N
    Narendra M
    Jan 18, 2017 at 2:25 pm
    It would have been better if the author of this article had offered suggestions to cross the price barrier. Secondly, without even testing the handsets let him not come to conclusions.
    Reply
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