If you thought nothing can beat the prices and offers of Reliance Jio’s Rs 0 phone, here’s one challenger that has already stepped into the ring. The first telecom operator to retaliate is Idea, which has announced its own 4G feature phone to take on the deep pockets of Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance Jio.
Even though the new phone is expected to come for around Rs 2,500 – a comparatively expensive phone in a price-sensitive segment of the market – if the grapevine is to be believed, Idea’s 4G feature phone will come with some really cool features that are missing from the JioPhone.
From the little that has been revealed about the phone, Idea has confirmed the handset to come equipped with an unlocked 4G-VoLTE SIM slot/s. The JioPhone, on the other hand, comes with a single 4G-SIM slot that can accept cards only from its parent company. Additionally, the phone will also support popular apps like Facebook and WhatsApp which currently cannot be used on the JioPhone.
Reliance Jio shook up the market a few days back by announcing a 4G feature phone for an effective price of Rs 0. The announcement created quite a buzz in the industry, and as expected, has already forced the hands of the existing telecom operators.
The JioPhone was announced by Mukesh Ambani with the sole purpose of poaching users from its rivals and making them part of the Jio revolution. The phone available for pre-booking starting August 23, can be yours for a refundable amount of Rs 1,500, and as such for the price, represents great value.
But having said that, there’s no denying it has its drawbacks, one’s that its rivals will look to exploit in order to fence their existing customers against Jio’s impending attack.
This is exactly what Idea seems to be doing.
This open nature of the Idea 4G phone, when compared to Jio’s approach of binding consumers within its own ecosystem, could well offer the phone a huge advantage over its competition and make it the perfect option for millions of 2G users in the country wanting to make the switch to not just a faster network, but more importantly the hugely popular Android ecosystem.
The Jio phone with its feature set, much like it’s pricing, is only an effective upgrade on the feature phone. For a country which serves as the biggest user base of WhatsApp and Facebook, Idea’s 4G phone for Rs 2,500 could well be the entry level 4G feature phone that the country has been waiting for.
Idea, along with its soon to be sister concern, Vodafone, and current market leader Airtel has already undergone multiple rounds of price-cuts in the last couple of months. But if these incumbents’ plan has to remain relevant, and if Idea’s 4G phone is to have a real shot against the JioPhone, the telecom operators will have to indulge Mukesh Ambani in another price war by announcing better offers.
Speaking on the issue, an Airtel spokesperson said, “We have no intention to get into subsidising devices and running the inventory as if we own them. There is a difference between subsidising and bundling. We have done that on the smartphone side for many years. We will continue to look at bundling.”
Airtel has also hinted at coming out with more “aggresive” plans to counter the JioPhone.