It has almost completed delivery of 6 million handsets, with more than half of them going to consumers in rural areas and small towns.
Reliance Jio has resumed delivery of its much anticipated Jio Phone to those 10 million customers who registered their expression of interest (EoI) for the 4G feature phone during August-September. According to people in know of developments, Reliance has started sending SMSs to customers who registered their EoIs for the VoLTE-enabled mobile phone. If they respond to the message, the company asks them to make an initial payment of Rs 500 to confirm their orders. After the confirmation and the payment, handsets will be delivered to the customer within a week or 10 days depending on the location. The 4G feature phone was available for beta testing from August 15 to August 23 and opened for pre-booking from August 24. The initial response was largely positive, with 6 million handsets being booked across the country and the company receiving EoIs for another 10 million.
Market sources said the company has almost completed delivery of 6 million handsets with more than half of them going to consumers in rural areas and small towns. “Around 5 lakh were delivered in UP (East) and another 4-5 lakh in UP (West). Demand from large towns and metros was not that much. For example, the demand from Delhi was around 3.5 lakh. Much of it came from villages and small towns in UP, MP, Gujarat, etc,” sources said, adding that the company is marketing the phone as a concept rather than just a handset through which people, especially those in rural areas, can come online.
“Major thrust of Reliance’s marketing strategy for the 4G feature phone is the use of regional and vernacular platforms to reach out to consumers in rural areas. The first batch also got buyers due to the huge hype. The big test comes now as it remains to be seen how much of the 10 million EoIs materialise into sales and that too in rural areas,” market sources explained. The development comes at a time when rivals such as Bharti Airtel have partnered with domestic handset makers Karbonn and Celkon to launch entry-level 4G smartphones effectively priced at Rs 1,399 and Rs 1,349, respectively.
Vodafone India, too, tied up with homegrown mobile phone maker Micromax to launch a smartphone at an effective price of Rs 999. In July, Reliance Jio unveiled the 4G feature phone that is free, albeit with a Rs 1,500 security for three years, with a base tariff of Rs 153 per month, which offers free local and national calls as well as 0.5 GB data per day. It sports a 2 megapixel rear camera and a front VGA camera and a 512 MB RAM and 4 GB internal storage with the option of expanding it to 128 GB using an SD card. The handset comes with a 2,000 mAh battery and has a 2.4 inch screen. A Reliance Jio spokesperson declined to comment on the matter.