In a bid to attract millions of users to its telecom venture Reliance Jio Infocomm, Reliance Industries is preparing to launch feature phones with 4G capability, creating a new segment of mobile devices.
These devices could be priced as low as about Rs 1,000 and will come bundled with unlimited voice and video calling, besides digital content, people familiar with the plans said. The Mukesh Ambani-owned company will offer the feature phones with voice over LTE (VoLTE) technology.
(VoLTE) technology, seeking to win over customers from the rural and tier-III markets who use phones mainly to make calls.
“Jio wants to tap all the segments in the country and sees huge potential in the rural areas, which it now aims to tap with VoLTE feature phones,” one of the people said, adding that the new devices will be aimed at first-time data users. “The 2G feature phone is still a big market in India.”
About 65% of India’s more than 1 billion mobile phone subscribers still use feature phones. Affordability — the cheapest 4G smartphones cost about Rs 3,000 — and lack of scope for other uses have deterred the faster adoption of smartphones.