Jio effect: Idea to launch 4G-enabled cheapest smartphone soon

Bruno Cirelli
Luglio 31, 2017

Idea Cellular has announced that they will launch a new handset to counter the Mukesh Ambani-owned Reliance Jio, which has recently launched a 4G feature phone called the JioPhone. "One of the concerns is about net neutrality".

"According to the report in PTI, Himanshu Kapania, the managing director of Idea Cellular Limited, said", The practical solution that we are working on is to work with the handset industry and work with them to be able to bring down cost of handsets by bringing down the bill of material, so that the gap of the announced price of Jio feature phone versus a smart-phone can be brought down to reasonable levels". "While clearly it has an appeal for customers with voice usage, what appeal does it have for customers who have an Internet requirement, we will have to wait to see", he said.

This new handset will give all the choices to a customer, including to choose the operator of his/her choice, popular applications like Google, Facebook or Whatsapp, Kapania explained.

It can be noted that net neutrality is a very touchy subject when it comes to telecom services worldwide and had snowballed into a major controversy in the country past year. Kapania said the company wants the new handset to come in at around Rs 2,500 apiece, but made it clear that Idea will not subsidise the phone. However, interested buyers will have to make a security deposit of Rs 1,500 at the time of purchase, that will be fully refundable at the end of 3 years.

There will be extensive market research on the number of features that can be brought down, operating system and whether it should have touchscreen, among others, he said.

In the past, the telecom operators had worked with handset makers when they were challenged by the then Reliance Infocomms cheaper handsets, he noted.

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