- Reliance Jio is reportedly working on a large-screen affordable smartphone for current 4G feature phone users.
- Jio is also in later stages of testing its VoWiFi service
- VoWiFi will let users place phone calls through wireless networks in areas where there is no cellular connectivity
After the success of the JioPhone2, Reliance Jio is working to launch an “affordable large screen smartphone” to cater to the mass of users who intend to upgrade to a 4G-enabled smartphone. According to a report by ET, Jio is working with partners to release the phone.
An earlier report had revealed Jio might be working with US contract manufacturer Flex to locally manufacture a batch of 100 million smartphones in a bid to rapidly expand market share by acquiring the feature phone users as its user base.
“We are trying to work with partners who can bring in affordable large screen smartphones for a large mass of customers who are yet to make a shift to 4G smartphone, so that they can experience the right kind of connectivity as well as the right kind of content on devices which are affordable,” Reliance Head of Sales and Channel Development, Sunil Dutt told Economics Times.
Reliance Jio was also spotted testing its VoWiFi (voice over Wi-Fi) service once again after news surfaced about the third-largest telco in the country testing the feature back in July. Back then, it was reported that the feature will be rolled out in the next few months. A report by TelecomTalk stated Jio was testing the feature across multiple circles including Andhra Pradesh, Telengana and Kerala. A user reportedly shared a screenshot of the feature with a publication from Madhya Pradesh. In the screenshot, an iPhone can be seen with Jio’s VoWiFi service turned on. This indicates that Jio is in later stages of testing and the feature launch is imminent, possibly in January 2019.
VoWiFi or voice over Wi-Fi lets subscribers make calls over wireless networks using Wi-Fi in places where there is no cellular network. The feature will be aided by the Government’s plan to install free public Wi-Fi hotspots around the country. When launched, smartphones can become even more accessible to people living in areas that have unstable cellular connectivity, and could be a chance for Jio to increase its market share among 4G feature phone users.
An earlier report stated that Jio had already completed testing the security as per DoT’s rules. Airtel and Vodafone have also passed that stage and will be rolling out VoWiFi on their respective networks
The move comes after DoT updated the license requirements to allow internet telephony in India back in June. According to the draft, VoWiFi will be made better with the government’s open Wi-Fi project. And with Jio all set to deploy the feature, other telcos shouldn’t be too far along.