Reliance Jio’s upcoming budget Android smartphone could cost as little as ₹4,000 (~$54)
After revolutionizing the mobile internet economy in India with 4G, and bringing in much-needed competition in the fiber and broadband space, Reliance Jio is aiming at disrupting the budget segment by launching low-cost Android smartphones. Jio had mentioned its intention to enter this segment a few months ago at its AGM. Now, details have emerged on the pricing, suggesting that India’s already competitive budget segment might feel some more heat in the coming months.
According to a report from Bloomberg, Reliance Industries Ltd., the parent company of Reliance Jio, has asked local suppliers in India to ramp up production with a target of producing up to 200 million smartphones in the next two years. The budget, entry-level Android smartphone is expected to cost just around ₹4,000 (~$54). The inexpensive phone will be marketed with low-cost wireless plans from Jio, much like what we have seen with the JioPhone smart feature phones. And as we already know from previous announcements, this smartphone is intended to be developed in collaboration with Google, and will feature “optimizations to the Android operating system and the Play Store” (although the partnership is said to be under regulatory review, because of which Jio is currently proceeding alone). There is no concrete ETA available for when this phone gets launched, though the report mentions that the Diwali sale period is likely to be missed.
Jio surely has ambitious plans for the future. The telecom carrier is hoping to enter India’s 5G market as early as 2021. The company also raised money by selling stakes to Google, Facebook, and many other high-profile investment firms, bringing in the cumulative capital raised by the company to a staggering $28.3 billion (₹2,12,809 crores) within a few months. Jio’s entry into the handset segment comes in the height of the COVID-19 pandemic and the push for greater digitization across sectors like education and more.