Reliance is gearing up to launch budget 4G feature phones in India that will support Jio 4G VoLTE capabilities. According to a new report from Economic Times Reliance will launch two 4G feature phones priced at about Rs 1,000 and Rs 1,500 early next year. These phones will come with unlimited voice and video calling.
These feature phones will function like smartphones but will not sport a touchscreen. Surprisingly, the report says that the phones will run on Android operating system and come with a keypad as well as front-facing and rear cameras. In addition to Jio’s content applications such as Jio Chat, Live TV and video on demand the feature phones will also come with company’s digital wallet service, Jio Money Wallet.
As per the report, Reliance is working with domestic handset maker Lava International and Chinese original equipment makers to manufacture these feature phones. The initial batch of feature phones could have branding from both Jio and Lava and will be sold through their respective retail channels. The capability to make VoLTE calls in these feature phones will be enabled by chipsets, which Jio plans to source from Chinese company Spreadtrum, while talks are on with Qualcomm and Mediatek.
Although India is the second largest smartphone market, a large number of tier II and tier III population still relies on feature phones. As per latest IDC report, feature phones registered 39.9 Million units in CY Q3 2016 with a healthy 18.6 percent quarter-over-quarter growth.