The Reliance Jio 4G VoLTE feature phones, rumoured to be in the works since January, will reportedly hit the markets soon. Reliance Retail, the company behind Lyf range of phones, will soon be launching the feature phones in two variants, which are already in production - according to a report by 91mobiles. The Mukesh Ambani-backed company is aiming to tap the rural market with these low-cost feature phones, which are said to come bundled with Reliance Jio 4G SIM as well as Jio apps.
According to the report, the Reliance Jio 4G VoLTE-enabled feature phones will be available with Qualcomm and Spreadtrum chipsets inside. The model with the Qualcomm chip will cost $28 (roughly Rs. 1,800), while the Spreadtrum variant will be a little cheaper at $27 (approximately Rs. 1,740). The company will sell the handsets at subsidised prices initially, as it has with the Reliance Jio 4G mobile services, in a bid to increase its telecom user base of around 110 million. With subsidy, the company may just offer the phones at the previously reported price tag of Rs. 999-1,500.
Reliance Jio 4G VoLTE feature phones will have basic hardware, with 2.4-inch screen, 512MB RAM, 4GB internal storage with expansion support via microSD cards, 2-megapixel rear camera, and VGA front camera. Apart from the Jio SIM for 4G connectivity, the feature phones are also said to have Wi-Fi, NFC and GPS, though there is no confirmation yet of the wireless tethering option.
An image of the Reliance Jio 4G VoLTE feature phone shared with Gadgets 360 by an anonymous tipster shows the phone will have an alphanumeric keyboard below the screen. There will also be dedicated buttons for MyJio, JioTV, JioCinema, and JioMusic apps.
4G VoLTE feature phones can help Reliance Jio penetrate the rural market as well as users of low-end phones who want high-speed Internet. The telecom operator has amassed a user base of over 100 million within six months of launch, but for further growth the untapped rural segment makes good sense. Moreover, India’s mobile phone market is still largely skewed towards feature phones than smartphones.