Reliance Jio may soon launch two sub-Rs 1,500 VoLTE feature phones

12 Jan, 2017

Jio_simAfter disrupting the telecom market with free calls and data, Reliance Jio may now launch two sub-Rs 1,500 4G VoLTE handsets, a major financial daily reported on Thursday.

The low-cost handsets, to be launched under Jio's LYF brand this quarter, will be priced at Rs 999 and Rs 1,500, a report in The Economic Times, citing analysts, said.

"If VoLTE feature phones come into the market, then there won't be a driving force pushing for the upgrade to smartphones; rather it will be an upgrade from feature phones to VoLTE feature phones. It will be a challenging time for the smartphone market, which could see flat growth in 2017," the report quoted Faizal Kawoosa, principal analyst at Cybermedia Research, as saying.

The handset will come bundled with Jio apps such as Jio Chat, Live TV and video-on-demand, along with Jio Money Wallet, the report added. It will also have all basic features such as rear and front cameras.

Smartphone shipments in India grew 11% to 32.3 million in the July-September quarter versus the year-ago period, driven by festive season and online sales, research firm IDC said.

Reliance had launched its 4G services in September last year. This saw the demand for smartphones compatible with the voice-over-LTE (VoLTE) technology surge in the country, a report by market research firm Counterpoint Technology said. VoLTE technology allows customers to use data and voice simultaneously.

Jio is the only 100% VoLTE-enabled network in the country.

Jio is an IP-based 4G network while others, such as Airtel, Vodafone, Idea and government-owned BSNL and MTNL, run on a circuit-switched fallback (CSFB) network. CSFB delivers voice and SMS services to LTE devices through a GSM or another circuit-switched network.