Reliance Jio is supposed to be working on 4G VoLTE feature phones, and various leaks have taken place around these devices in the past. Now a new report in the Financial Express has said the company is currently looking to source these phones from manufacturers in China.
The Financial Express report says Reliance Jio is in talks with companies like “Techchain, FortuneShip and Uniscope,” although it adds these talks are all in a very early stage. The report quotes sources, though Jio has not officially commented on the same. According to the report, Jio is looking at some samples from these Chinese players, and only once these are “tested and verified” will the company place any final commercial order.
For Reliance Jio, a 4G VoLTE feature phone could be a game changer. Unlike other players like Airtel or Vodafone or Idea, Jio is an entirely 4G VoLTE network, this means even calls are conducted over the VoLTE network, rather than the traditional networks. So while smartphone users can easily join the Jio network, a large number of feature phone users in India are still not on the company’s network.
Jio, which has already crossed 100 million subscribers, has ambitions to be India’s biggest network, and thus it makes sense for the company to launch feature phones, which will bring in more of these users. While India has seen a jump in the number of smartphones sold, feature phones still outsell the more expensive smartphones.
However, it should be remembered that a 4G VoLTE feature phone will be a limited offering for customers. It might come loaded with Jio’s own apps, and could allow for VoLTE calling, but overall it will still restrict the app and internet experience that most smartphone users enjoy.
Earlier reports have claimed Jio’s 4G VoLTE smartphone will be priced under Rs 2000, some even claim it will cost as little as Rs 1,500. Currently the only 4G VoLTE feature phone in the market is Lava 4G Connect M1, which was launched in February and is priced at Rs 3,333.