Reliance Jio chairman Mukesh Ambani today announced the launch of JioPhone, a 4G VoLTE-enabled feature phone that can be purchased with a fully refundable deposit of Rs 1,500.
Reliance Industries (RIL) Chairman Mukesh Ambani announced the launch of the JioPhone at the company's 40th annual general meeting (AGM) in Mumbai on Friday.
It is a feature phone endowed with full 4G VoLTE (Voice over LTE) capabilities that will be on sale sometime in September for 'an effective price of Rs 0'. Customers will be required to pay a security deposit of Rs 1,500 refundable after three years 'for security reasons'.
Ambani cited the 50 crore feature phone users in India who can't access 4G VoLTE technology as the reason behind his decision to roll out the phone.
"I believe today every young Indian should have access to information at his fingertips and that is what the JioPhone enables. To enable a digital life, all you need is access to data at affordable rates. So, starting this year I am declaring digital freedom for all feature phone users. Jio will give them access to unlimited data," Ambani told the crowd gathered at the AGM.
Unlimited voice, SMS, and data will be available to the Reliance Jio phone's users for a monthly plan of Rs 153. The company reportedly also plans to offer a weekly plan for Rs 54 and a two-day plan of Rs 24 with the same benefits.
Entry-level smartphones in India still cost too much for financially-constrained feature phone users to purchase, which is a 'critical problem' according to Ambani. To end the disparity, the JioPhone comes with features such as the pre-loaded Jio apps suite and broadcast capabilities to the JioTV app. For Rs 309 per month, its users can stream cable television programmes to their TV sets. The function supports old cathode ray TVs as well.
The company has plans for five million JioPhones to be made available every week after it goes on sale. Pre-bookings for the phone will begin on August 24 and all of them will be manufactured in India by the end of the year.