Then phone is the third step in Ambani’s three-step plan to bring an end to “digital disempowerment and unfairness.” Pointing out that there are 78 crore phones in India, of which more than 50 crore are feature phone users, Ambani expressed his regret that so many users will left out of the “digital revolution.” His three-step plan aims to address just this issue.
Then first two steps of the plan involve improving connectivity and data affordability. Ambani promised that Jio 4G network coverage will cover 99 percent of India’s population, surpassing 2G networks in that regard.
2G networks are legacy networks and are data inefficient. Bandwidth is severely limited and expensive. By Jio’s estimate, 2G data costs per GB exceeds Rs 4,000 to Rs 8,000 as opposed to the Rs 10 per GB that 4G users are paying. The obvious solution is to simply migrate these 50 crore users to 4G networks.
This is where the newly announced Jio Phone comes in.
A free, 4G VoLTE feature phone
Then hardware that powers the phone is unknown, but we do know that the phone will fully support 4G VoLTE and that it will feature voice input. Better yet, the phone will support 22 Indian languages and incorporates the entire suite of Jio content apps including Jio Music, and Jio Cinema.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Mann Ki Baat app will also present on the device.
Then device features a 2.4-inch QVGA display and looks very much like your average feature phone. Additional features like FM radio support, a microSD card slot and a torch are present.
Then phone itself will offered for free to all Jio users. Yes, free. A user will only need to pay a refundable deposit of Rs 1,500 when picking up the phone. At the end of three years, the user will simply have to return the used device and collect the entire deposit.
As a safety feature, pressing and holding the five button will send a message with your location to your emergency contacts. Later on, the feature will expanded to integrate with police and other emergency services.
Interestingly, the device also includes NFC, which will enabled via a software update. A user can link their bank accounts, UPI, and other such payment options with the phone and use it for digital transactions.
Then A “Jio Phone TV Cable” accessory for the phone will enable any user to connect the device to any TV, even if they have an ancient CRT unit. Content from the phone will directly viewable on the TV via this accessory.
Tariff plans: Rs 153 per month for unlimited data and calls
Firstly All this 4G goodness is of little use without adequate data and bandwidth. To that end, Ambani announced that for Rs 153 a month, every Jio Phone user will get access to unlimited data and voice calling.
Ambani points out that the average 2G feature phone user spends around Rs 200 per month for about 150 minutes of voice calls. From that perspective, the Jio offer represents incredible value.
Also Rs 309 Dhan Dhana Dhan plan is available. It’s only via this plan that you get access to the TV adapter, so it’s a must if you want to stream video from your phone to your TV.
“Starting 15 August, I am declaring digital freedom for all feature-phone users,” announced Ambani.
Then phone will available to users for beta testing from 15 August. Other users can start pre-booking the devices from 24 August onwards and the devices will ship in September. The phone will available to the public thereafter.
Ambani has set a target of shipping five million phones a week.
Jio Phone will retail for Rs 1,500 (taking the refundable security deposit into consideration). There is no 4G feature phone in the market that offers the same set of features.
Then sub- Rs 1,500 phones in the market only offer colour displays and FM radio. None offer support for 4G or voice input. The cheapest phones offering 4G support start in the Rs 3,000 range. This includes devices from Jio’s own Lyf Flame series.
Disclaimer: Reliance Industries Ltd. is the sole beneficiary of Independent Media Trust which controls Network18 Media & Investments Ltd.