After creating a flutter in the telecom segment, Reliance could jump into phone segment using a cheap 4G VoLTE compliant handset as the bait.

Reliance Jio has been the great disrupter in the Indian telecom services segment, and the feat is expected to be repeated in the handset business soon. For the latest media reports on this claim, the Mukesh Ambani-led group could be on the verge of launching a 4G VoLTE phone priced as little as just INR 500.

That sure would be a new low so far as even feature phones are concerned, with each handset likely to be subsidized by Rs. 650 to even Rs. 975. Launching a phone priced that low will still be making strong business sense for Reliance as this would serve as a bait for current 2G subscribers to make the switch to Reliance Jio services.

That is not all as a Jio branded laptop could also be in the anvil, complete with an integrated 4G SIM slot. No doubt such a laptop, if it at all is a reality, will be equally competitively priced. Reliance already has its AGM scheduled on July 21.

While rumor mongers are ready to bet on the feature phone being announced on that day, it remains to be seen if the laptop or any other such device also finds mention.

However, while the phone could be announced on July 21, it should be around Aug 15 that the phone eventually makes its market debut. Reliance is believed to have placed orders for about 18-20 million such handsets. Chinese vendors such as Zhejiang Techain Electronics Technology Co., Shenzhen CHINO-E Communication Co, Crave, and Megaphone are developing the phones, with late July or early August as the expected shipment schedule. The upcoming feature phone too will be carrying the Lyf brand.

As of now, the lowest priced Jio backed phones cost about Rs. 3000. Those are smartphones, of course, carrying the Lyf branding. The upcoming feature phone will be in a segment of its own with a huge chunk of the Indian populace still more comfortable using the feature phones of yore. Clearly, Reliance is eager to bring this group within the Jio fold.

As for its rumored specs, the upcoming Jio phone will likely have two variants powered by either a Qualcomm or a Spreadtrum chip, each mated to a 512 MB RAM. Among the other expected specs include 4 GB storage along with support for microSD card, 2.4-inch display along with front VGA and rear 2-megapixel camera. The phones will also be compliant with Wi-Fi, GPS, NFC communications standards.

Reliance revealed it now has 112.55 millions users hooked on to its Jio network. Of course it hasn’t been just about size as the latest TRAI report revealed Jio has also fasted 4G service in the country for seven months in a row.

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