Reliance Disruption: Jio Launches A Zero Priced Feature Phone

by Moumita Deb Choudhury    Jul 21, 2017


Everyone strolled the normal course so long with telecom service providers providing services as per their conveniences and consumers settling with whatever options available to them and they went along.

When one fine day, out of imagination emerged a new entrant- Reliance Jio almost nudging consumers to open their eyes, saying, here I come - your Santa- whatever you may want from a telecom service provider, I offer you free.  Take voice calls and also data for free. Yes, absolutely free till recently.

Today, the company announced a feature phone and yet again it is out of its Santa’s bag.

The latest show-off is a 4G enabled “effectively zero priced’ feature phone that runs on voice command. You have to pay a “fully refundable” Rs. 1,500 deposit which will be refunded after three years.

What is seen as a disruption for the telecom sector with Reliance Jio changing the very dynamics of the telecom service rates with its free services for six months after the company launched operations in September is a factor to reckon with.

The phone was launched at the 40th AGM meet of RIL and is termed as “India ka smartphone.”

“JioPhone to be physically available from September 2017 to those who have pre-booked it. JioPhone pre-booking to be open from 24 August. Digital life will no longer be the privilege of the affluent few. Reliance democratized the equity culture in the past. Now, Jio will democratize the digital culture in India. JioPhone to be available for user testing from August 15. The target is to have 5 million JioPhones available every week,” said Mukesh Ambani, Chairman and Managing Director, Reliance Industries Ltd.

The phone comes preloaded with all Jio applications like Jio Music, Jio Cinema etc.

Free voice calls, drop in data tariffs, heightened competitions among telcos and if that was not enough, the dramatic entry of Reliance Jio, causing massive disruptions, not only made 2016 a landmark year for India’s telecom sector in terms of tariffs, services and technology but also took the industry to an altogether new level with the launch of 4G LTE services across the country, at rates not witnessed before.

In fact, the disruption that the Indian telecom industry witnessed is also a major boost that the ‘Digital India’ campaign which was initiated by the Narendra Modi government.

The timing of Reliance Jio 4G launched was also a key to its strategy. It was launched at the threshold of the festive season and at the time before the telecom wavelength auctions were to begin. All these factors pooled in to make it the hit it is.

2016 set the ground for this action-packed event of the telcos, the climax is at its peak now with Reliance Jio almost overshadowing all others; will all these deuce by end of this year or are there more disruptions awaiting. Let’s wait and watch.

However, now the fierce battle among the telecom service providers which is already reigning supreme, points to a heightened fight and the best part is, the winner of this battle nevertheless can and only be the consumers.