I saw this very funny meme about Reliance Jio vs other Telecom operators. The point of the meme was how their heartbeat take a jump whenever Jio is about to announce something. Well, Jio did make some big announcement on Friday at the Reliance AGM on Friday as Mukesh Ambani took the covers off the long-rumoured 4G feature phone. The big news, however, was its price, which was effectively Rs.0. So is Reliance Jio really giving away phones for free? Or do I smell a scam here? Let’s get into the details and find out what’s the deal exactly.
Starting from the beginning, although Reliance Jio launched in India in September last year, the company’s offering has been limited to smartphone users only as it is a 4G only network, and to make calls, a phone has to support the VoLTE technology, which is usually not found on basic phones, heck, not all smartphones even support this yet, at least not the one consumer are using for now. They did try to change that with JioFi, a router kinda device which acts as an hotspot and let the users connect their 3G smartphones to Jio network through Wifi. But even this was no help for feature phones users.
The company aims to change that with the JioPhone, which comes with 4G VoLTE support. The JioPhone will include access to apps like JioCinema, JioTV, and JioMusic. JioPhone will be crucial for the company in tapping the estimated 50 crore feature phone users who have not been able to join the Jio 4G bandwagon because of the high costs associated with smartphones.
The cost of these feature 4G VoLTE phones is effectively Rs.0, but you do pay a security deposit of Rs.1500 at the time of buying, which is refundable after a period of 3 years.
Talking about the specs, there isn’t much to write about, so let’s just have a quick look at it.
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The Jio phone looks like any standard feature phone with a full keypad and 4-way navigation key, I suppose there maybe support for touchscreen too but not sure yet. It has a very compact design and comes with all the basic features of feature phones.There’s a 2.4-inch QVGA display and expandable memory, how much, we don’t know yet.
Some key JioPhone specifications leaked before the launch included dual SIM functionality, 2-megapixel rear camera, VGA front camera, FM radio, and Bluetooth connectivity. The JioPhone has also been tipped to come with a 4GB of internal storage, and 512MB of RAM. How much of that will be true is yet to be seen.
There are a couple of options for the consumers in regards to plans. Users can either pay Rs. 153 per month, for which they will get free voice and SMS, and unlimited data (high-speed data FUP is 500MB per day), along with Jio apps. If not that, they can also choose to pay Rs. 309 per month to get all this, plus the support for mirroring your screen on a TV, via a cable that can even be plugged into CRT TVs. Aside from that, the company will also have two sachet packs, at Rs. 24 for two days, or Rs. 54 per week, for users who don’t want to commit to Rs. 153 as an upfront payment. After three years of usage, you can return the phone, and get a full refund on the deposit of Rs.1500.
JioPhone release date:
The phone will be available from August 15 – for testing, in beta, and will be up for pre-booking from August 24 from the MyJio app and Jio offline stores. Users who pre-book will be able to buy the phone from September, on a first come first serve basis.
So, this was it from our side, if you’ve any questions remaining, feel free to comment below.
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