One day to go for Jio to begin testing of the new JioPhone. Mukesh Ambani's Reliance Jio will be commercially launching the new 4G feature phone next month. The USP of the device is its price tag and 4G connectivity. The company claims it is effectively free but the user still has to pay a price of Rs 1,500, which can be refunded after three years.
The device was first unveiled on July 21, during the Reliance AGM. The company promised that the device will be available for testing by August 15 and users will be able to pre-book the device on August 24.
Recently, a few reports also suggested that the JioPhone might be able to run a special version of WhatsApp and is in talks with the instant messaging application to make it happen. If the company succeeds in achieving this, it can pose a great threat to the entry level smartphones.
Currently, other than voice over LTE (VoLTE) calls and basic internet browsing, there is hardly anything that the JioPhone user will be able to do with the fast 4G connection. One of the biggest deprivations would be the lack of basic applications like Facebook and WhatsApp.
However, Reliance Jio knows that India's 200 million subscriber base of WhatsApp can increase manifold if they are able to provide a special WhatsApp application for the phone's respective operating system.
JioPhone is being touted as 'India ka Smartphone' as it is aimed at the feature phone market, which is still a majority in the phone market. The company also launched exclusive data plans for the device. JioPhone will be launched for testing on 15 August, will be available for pre-booking from August 24 and will be commercially available by September this year.
Dreading the monopoly Reliance Jio can have on the cheap-segment devices and customers, other telecom operators are jumping into the race with their own offerings. Idea Cellular-Vodafone is also planning to introduce a cheap 4G smartphone at Rs 2,500. Being a smartphone, the company claims that it will be able to run basic applications like Facebook, WhatsApp and Google.