RJio to launch free 4G feature phone

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The company on Friday said that it would launch a new 4G feature phone in September that would be sold for free.

The scrip of Dish TV India plunged 5.85 per cent, Sun TV Network went down by 2.65 per cent, Hathway Cable & Datacom fell 2.58 per cent, GTPL Hathway (2.28 per cent) and Den Networks (0.13 per cent) on BSE. With this, I am sure Jio will set a new world record. "TV would also hurt the cable TV industry", said Nitasha Shankar, Sr Vice President and Head of Research, YES Securities.

As all the eyes at the Reliance Industries Limited (RIL) annual General meeting were on the launch of much awaited JioPhone, RIL chairman Mukesh Ambani shifted all the limelight to the next generation Ambani Twins, Akash and isha Ambani, by formally introducing the force behind Jio. The phone, packed with built-in features, is being offered for Rs 1500, refundable after three years of use. Voice calls from JioPhone will be free and 50 crore feature phone users don't have access to basic internet.

Industry stakeholders and analysts appreciated the launch, adding that it will disrupt the market and put pressure on existing operators on data prices.

The JioPhone is coming bundled with the Jio number and membership which Reliance is going to charge for you.

Ambani said that in order to fit every pocket, the company would also introduced two sachets - a weekly plan for Rs 54 and a two-day plan for Rs 24 - that would provide similar value. It supports 22 Indian languages and also supports voice commands to call anyone in your contacts.

JioPhone is the first 4G enabled feature phone which is made in India. The company could ask for a security deposit of Rs 4,500 for its JioFiber broadband service, as a refundable amount.

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The pre-booking for the phone will start from August 24 and it will be given away on a first-come-first-served basis.

"Further, in our view maintaining of the Rs 153 per month ARPU (average revenue per unit) will be positive for incumbents (same effective monthly price to now active plan of Rs 309 for two months)".

The Jio phone boasts of front and back cameras and a 200mAh battery, NFC (near-field communication) capabilities, and comes pre-loaded with Jio apps.

He said the physical distribution network across India was being expanded to support the enhanced coverage. "In addition, we will integrate with all major e-commerce platforms", he said, laying out the new phone's distribution plans.

Jio has 125 million customers across the country.

From 3,500 employees in 1997, RIL now has a total staff strength of 250,000 worldwide, Ambani added.

It has propelled India to become the No. 1 data consumer worldwide surpassing both the United States and China, he said. "Today, Jio has more than 100 million paying Jio Prime customers".