Reliance Jio may just fall short on its promise of delivering 6 million pre-booked JioPhone units on time. JioPhone deliveries were supposed to start back in September, however multiple Jio customers have taken to Twitter with complaints of delayed deliveries.
As a standard response to all customer grievances related to delayed JioPhone deliveries, the official Reliance Jio Twitter account has tweeted saying, “We have started the delivery of JioPhones in phased manner to avoid inconvenience.” The official Jio twitter handle further writes that all those who have pre-booked the JioPhone “will receive it as soon” with no indication of a delivery date.
We understand your concern. We have started the delivery of JioPhones in phased manner to avoid inconvenience to(1/5)— JioCare (@JioCare) October 9, 2017
our customers. Please be assured that all customers who have done the pre-booking of JioPhone will receive it as soon your(2/5)— JioCare (@JioCare) October 9, 2017
Multiple users have started expressing their anger on the microblogging platform, saying that they feel cheated. Some users are also demanding a refund of the Rs 500 they spent booking the smart 4G feature phone. In response, Reliance Jio keeps replying to these user complaints with the same Tweet thread about phased deliveries.
Reliance Jio users who have pre-booked the JioPhone have an option of checking the status of their phone deliveries by calling the toll-free number - 1800 890 8900. However, some users are also complaining that the toll-free number is not working properly. When we tried to reach the JioPhone toll-free number to check the status of multiple undelivered JioPhones (as per info obtained from Twitter complaints) we were able to get through, but each query was answered with the same automated response saying that the delivery status of the device will be sent through an SMS “soon.” Interestingly, a couple of users also claim that the JioPhone is more readily available if pre-booked offline. As per some users, JioPhones have started arriving in stores near them, but they still do not have any updated delivery status for their devices.
The JioPhone is a smart 4G feature phone which can be used to access the internet at 4G speeds, stream movies and music, browse Facebook, and much more. The device also features a digital assistant which can be controlled using voice commands. Those who have pre-booked the device can expect to either get a unit with a Spreadtrum 9820A processor or a Qualcomm 205 chipset with a 1.2GHz Dual Core CPU.
The JioPhone is effectively free, but customers have to pay a refundable security deposit of Rs 1,500 to get it. As per Jio’s terms and conditions, the JioPhone will have to be recharged for a minimum of Rs 4,500 over a period of three years, else the deposit will not be refunded to users. News of this minimum recharge lock-in also irked many who booked the feature phone and thought it did not come with any caveats.
Delayed JioPhone deliveries could cost Reliance Jio precious time and money when it comes to subscriber additions. State-run telecom operator BSNL is also said to be working on a JioPhone challenger in partnership with local manufacturers Micromax and Lava. Bharti Airtel is also planning to launch a Rs 2,500 4G feature phone to compete with the JioPhone. If competition from telecom operators was not enough, HMD Global, the Nokia brand licensee, has also experessed interest in developing a 4G feature phone if the JioPhone manages to take off well in the country. This, coupled with competing data and calling plans from incumbent operators, can slowdown Jio's shooting subscriber growth and possibly spill water on its plans to convert 500 million feature phone users to 4G subscribers.