July 21st was quite a day for the Indian telecom industry as India’s richest man unveiled the cheapest smartphone in India. The long rumored 4G VoLTE phone from Reliance has finally got its official launch, and the lids were taken off by Mukesh Ambani himself at the 40th Reliance Industries AGM held in Mumbai yesterday.
The Jio phone and its pricing had kept us guessing for a long time, and we had made assumptions ranging from a mere Rs.500 to even Rs.5000. But, the new handset, dubbed as the “India ka Intelligent Smartphone” has surprised us all with its effective price of zero rupees!
Though Reliance Jio network was launched in September last year, its user-base couldn’t expand much as it was restricted to just 4G smartphone users. The problem was that Reliance Jio was a 4G only network and it makes calls using VoLTE connectivity. This technology is missing in most basic feature phones and was probably the only reason that stopped some users from joining the Jio 4G bandwagon and the euphoria it created last year. But with its newly launched Jio Phone, Reliance has made full amends for this by making it affordable for anyone to own a feature phone with 4G and VoLTE support.
Jio Phone Price & Deposit:
The Reliance Jio Phone will be made available to all users FREE of cost. But, to avoid potential misuse of this offer, the company will collect a security deposit of Rs.1500 which is fully refundable. After three years, you can return the phone and get a full refund of the security deposit.
Jio Phone Launch Date & Availability:
The company has announced that the new phone will hit the market for beta testing and trial from August 15th this year. Pre-booking for the Jio Phone is expected to be opened from 24th August. Users can book the phone through the MyJio App or offline stores of Reliance Jio. The phone is anticipated to be issued from September this year, and this will be done on a first come first serve basis.
Jio Phone Plans:
The Jio Phone comes with an affordable monthly plan of Rs.153 which covers both voice and data. All calls and SMS will be free of cost without any limits or caps on it. The high-speed data offered by the network is termed to be unlimited, but the company has kept a daily cap of 500 MB which is effectively 14 GB per month.
For users who aren’t interested in paying Rs.153 upfront, Reliance has also announced two sachet packs – Rs.24 for two days and Rs.54 for a week.
Users can also choose to pay Rs.309 per month to get an additional feature that provides users with support for mirroring your phone screen on to a TV. This is done using a cable, and it can even be connected to your old CTR televisions. This is a highly convenient feature as the Jio Phone can be used to access entertainment apps like JioTV and JioCinema. The voice and data offer in this plan are the same as in Plan 1.
Jio Phone Features & Specifications:
|Display||2.4 Inch QVGA Display (Display Resolution: 240 x 320 pixels)|
|Camera||2 MP Rear Camera, No Front Camera|
|Internal Memory||4 GB ROM|
|Expandable Memory||32 GB (Using Micro SD Card)|
|Other Features||Dual Sim, 4G VoLTE Connectivity, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, FM Radio, Torch light, Panic Button, Supports 22 Indian languages, Voice Commands, Alphanumeric Keypad, 4-way keypad navigation, NFC (to be launched later this year)|
Here’s a picture of Isha Ambani presenting the features of the Jio Phone at the Reliance AGM
Jio Phone means good news to the good chunk of Indian population who are still stuck with basic phones and crawling 2G internet speeds. The launch is sure to bring huge changes to the Indian telecom industry, and the competitors of Jio are expected to respond with cheaper rates and plans.
It was the launch of the Jio network that managed to bring down 4G data rates drastically. And with its new Jio Phone, the same is set to happen for the entire telecom market.