Reliance Jio’s cheap 4G feature phone JioPhone accounted for almost half of the country’s overall feature phone shipments during April-June 2018, according to Counterpoint Research. JioPhone’s shipments during the quarter stood at 47% of the overall domestic feature phone shipments, Counterpoint data showed.
JioPhone, which was absent in April-June 2017, is now the market leader in the segment.
Jio is followed by Samsung, which controls 9% of shipments. Nokia HMD has 8% market share while iTel and Lava control 7% and 5% of market share, respectively.
Counterpoint said globally the feature phone market grew 5% Y-o-Y to 111 million units during April-June, with Jio being the leader accounting for 18% of the share, which signifies that shipments of its 4G feature phone were in the range of 20 million for the said quarter.
Analysts said Jio’s strategy of a pan-India 4G network with deep discounted tariff plans and an almost free VoLTE-enabled phone is aiding it in expanding influence in small towns and villages, which is something rival incumbents have not been able to effectively counter.
Almost 50% of new subscriber additions on Reliance Jio’s network is coming from JioPhone since the last two months, the time when the price of the 4G feature phone was slashed from Rs 1,500 to Rs 501 by exchanging it with an old feature phone.
Sources said since July when prices of JioPhone came down to Rs 501 through a scheme called Monsoon Hungama, monthly subscriber addition by Jio has increased. While it used to be around 6-7 million per month earlier, the figure has now touched 10-12 million a month and half of it comes through JioPhones.
Apart from reducing the price of the JioPhone, the company also added popular apps – WhatsApp, YouTube and Facebook which together have a market share of around 80% – in the phone to increase its traction among users. Before the near-66% reduction in price and addition of popular apps, the phone had notched sales of around 25 million in eight months, which analysts did not see as too high. The reason cited was that it addressed only 20% of the feature phone market as the entry level price Rs 1,500 (refundable security after three years) was seen too high for this segment.