Reliance Group which disrupted the Indian telecom sector by introducing highly affordable CDMA phone way back in 2002 under RCom banner may do the same again for 4G telephony in India. The fledgling Reliance Jio which is a wholly owned subsidiary of Reliance Industries is planning to bring Reliance Jio 4G LTE smartphone for as low as ₹500, said reports. Citing a report from HSBC research, business daily Economic Times reported that Reliance Jio could launch a smartphone with a price tag of as low as ₹500 on the Annual General Meeting (AGM) of Reliance Industries Limited which is scheduled for July 21 in Mumbai.
Earlier, the business daily Financial Express have reported that Reliance Jio was in talks with Chinese manufacturers like the Techchain and Uniscope for the its 4G phone. There were rumours that the phone could launch at ₹1500 previously. Many experts believe that a ₹500 4G feature phone that support high-speed data network could bring a data revolution in India – something similar to what Jio sibling RCom did in 2002, when it launched highly affordable CDMA phone and call services in India which lead many incumbent to change their go-to-market and price strategy.
However, there are critics who say that the market has changed now, the people expectation with high-speed 4G is different from what they expected in telephony in 2002. Some of them gave example of Nano car from Tata Motors which was projected to change the mobility in the country but ultimately became a failed marketing exercise. It has not been able to deliver the kind of number that was initially expected.
In 2009 amidst a lot of hype and anticipation Tata Nano was launched. It was positioned as the cheapest car to be offered on sale in India. Sales touched an all-time high within 3 years of its launch, but post 2012, sales started falling drastically. Only 174 units of the Nano were sold in March 2017, according to reports.
Currently, there are very few feature phones that offer 4G connectivity at such low price in India, therefore the need for an affordable 4G LTE phone is needed. There is huge demand of such phone across rural India but will Reliance Jio be able to make it big, only time will tell.