Reliance Industries is in talks with Chinese manufacturers to bundle their products with its 4G services. According to reports, the company is planning to sell phones in packages from $30 (less than Rs 2,000).
Reliance plans to roll out India's first national 4G service in the coming months. The company has been in talks with leading Chinese manufacturers including Gionee, Huawei and Xiaomi to launch the low cost phones bundles with its 4G services. Chinese manufacturers are also keen to build their presence in India, the fastest growing smartphone market. Reliance has spent $13 billion in the last 5 years on the 4G Reliance Jio and has faced problems in bundling cheap handsets with their services, making the Chinese deals critical to the company. Reportedly the company plans to launch 4G service across in more than 5,000 towns and cities across India that would account for over 90 per cent of urban India. The company plans to launch its 4G services in over 215,000 villages this year. “Reliance Jio is actively working with all major handset device manufacturers to ensure and certify their phones for use on Jio network and shall ensure adequate availability of phones in entire price range," the company said in a statement.
"We have signed non-disclosure agreement with it (RJio) and hence cannot share details," a top official of a Chinese mobile devices firm stated. Another Chinese handset maker confirmed that they are in advanced stage of discussion and will be able to share the details only after its deal is finalised. According to reports, the company plans to attract customers with cheap handsets, similar to way the company’s founder revolutionised India’s mobile market in 2003 by selling devices for as little as $11. The company’s strategy helped capture a million customers in just 10 days. Reliance plans to repeat the feat with 4G, thanks to China's cheap smartphones but also tablets and pocket routers. "Their internal target is to have 5 million customers in 50 hours," a person familiar with the matter said. Reportedly, the company may indirectly subsidise the phones by asking for an upfront payment for 2,000 to 3,000 rupees by buying a customer's existing handset and bundling Jio services."(Jio) will go for the kill from the start," said Neil Shah, research director at Counterpoint Technology Market Research. "They definitely want to go for mass market play with 4G, because only that will give them the scale to be profitable.”