Reliance JioInfocomm, the telephony arm of Reliance Industries, will launch its Lyf branded smartphones in the next few weeks to take advantage of increasing demand of such devices in the ongoing festive season through Christmas.
The phones will be dual SIM ones with the starting price as low as Rs 4,000 and will come with some additional features. Reliance Jio, which plans to launch the commercial services of its 4G-based mobile telephony by the end of this year, will
retail these phones through the channels of group firm Reliance Digital, which is part of Reliance Retail. The phones will be sold in the unlocked format, means customers won’t be tied to Jio’s mobile services if they buy the phones.
The Lyf smartphones will be in addition to the handsets the company will buy from Samsung Electronics Co., for which it had already availed a export lending facility to finance handsets from the Korean company.
“Having a strong line-up of smartphones, tablets and devices across all price points will remove a key barrier to mass adoption of broadband data, High Definition voice, video calling, messaging and rich value-added services,” chairman Mukesh Ambani had said during the annual shareholders’ meeting in June this year.
During the initial launch, Reliance plans to introduce up to five models of Lyf smartphones and at least
two variants in each one
of them, according to a person with knowledge of the development. Each of the model will vary depending on
the processing capacity, internal memory, and is likely have an option to subscribe to Reliance Jio’s cloud-storage services.
Reliance is working with Chinese smartphone vendors CK Telecom, JDM Technologies and ZTE Corp as well as K-Touch, a brand owned by Jaina Group, which also sells Karbonn Mobiles, to manufacture the Lyf branded smartphones. Pardeep Jain promoter of Jaina Group was unavailable for comments immediately.
Reliance Digital will be using its data analytics on consumer behaviour at its stores to design, make and sell these smartphones.
The phones will run on Qualcomm chipsets, and Google Inc’s Android software. It will also have a
phone number dialer integrated with a normal dialer
to offer voice on LTE networks, a technology that Reliance Jio is betting on for wider adoption.
“The idea is to have as many devices when the network is ready…it will be advantageous to Jio,” the person cited above added. “If there is VoLTE then it is easier to opt to Jio network.”