Mukesh Ambani-led Reliance Jio's cheap feature phone with access to unlimited internet - JioPhone - has bagged the prestigious Nikkei Superior Products and Services Awards for 2018. "Souped-up feature phone from India opens up the internet to low income users," the Japanese publication said on its website. "The 2018 Nikkei Superior Products and Services Awards honour innovations that are not only good products but also blaze trails for the technologies of tomorrow. The winner of the Nikkei Asian Review Award for Excellence is a cell phone offered at rock-bottom prices by Reliance Jio."
Ambani, who punched his way into country's mobile phone industry with free voice and data offering in September 2016, unveiled a data-enabled feature phone for a refundable deposit of Rs 1,500 almost a year later.
"People in India's telecom sector refer to Reliance Jio Infocomm as a disrupter. It's no wonder, Jio became a cellphone service provider in September 2016 and employed an aggressive pricing strategy that prompted consolidation in the industry," Nikkei Asian Review said.
"An even bigger disrupter would come 10 months later, when the Reliance Industries' subsidiary introduced the JioPhone, opening the mobile internet up to low-income earners in rural India," it said.
As of July 2018, one year after the introduction of Reliance Jio Infocomm handset JioPhone, it had more than 25 million users, it said.
Since 1982, the Nikkei Superior Products and Services Awards are awarded every year to superior new products and services.
Without accepting applications for a nomination, award recipients are selected from among the approximately 20,000 new products and services reported in The Nikkei, the Nikkei Business Daily, the Nikkei Marketing Journal, the Nikkei Veritas, Nikkei.com (the Nikkei's electronic edition) and the Nikkei Asian Review.
For screening, products and services are comprehensively assessed across six aspects -- excellence in technology development, cost-effectiveness, contribution to business performance, growth potential, uniqueness and commercial impact and social impact.