Idea Cellular and Vodafone are joining hands to give Reliance Jio a tough fight in the ongoing tariff war, and also in the 4G phone market. The feature phone market rekindled after a decade of inactivity when Mukesh Ambani launched the cheapest 4G feature phone, which the company claimed would offer the buyer unlimited voice calls.
Idea seems to have realized the potential of this market too and has indicated that it will be launching a new phone which will be the cheapest 4G smartphone. Unlike the JioPhone, this device will be able to download popular applications like Facebook, WhatsApp and Google.
According to a Mail Today report, Himanshu Kapania, the managing director of Idea Cellular Limited, the JioPhone does not seem to cater to the internet savvy generation. He explained, "while clearly it has an appeal for customers with voice usage, what appeal does it have for customers who have an Internet requirement; we will have to wait to see."
Other than that, the company also raised issues about net neutrality with the introduction of the JioPhone. The company claims that though the device they'll launch will be priced slightly higher (approx Rs 2,500), it will give the user freedom of choice to go with any network provider apart from giving access to download third party applications like Google, Facebook and WhatsApp.
According to Kapania, the company will not subsidise the phone. He also said that Aditya Birla Group company was working with handset makers to launch this phone.
Earlier this month, Reliance Industries Limited chairman Mukesh Ambani announced the 4G VoLTE feature JioPhone at an effective price of Rs Zero. However, customers first have to pay a security of Rs 1500, which will be fully refundable after three years.
Unveiling the 'India ka Smartphone', Ambani said that the launch of JioPhone is a critical element in bridging the divide between digital India.
JioPhone which will be launched for testing on 15 August, will be open for pre-booking from August 24 and will be commercially available by September this year.