Jio disruption: Feature phone to cost Rs 0 with Rs 1,500 refundable deposit

Nita Ambani (left) with Reliance Industries Chairman Mukesh Ambani. Photo: Kamlesh Pednekar
Reliance Industries Limited (RIL) on Friday held its 40th AGM or annual general meeting for shareholders today, at Birla Matushri Sabhagar in Mumbai. During the event, Reliance announced the launch of its 4G feature phone. Along with that the telco has announced its cable TV device. The JioPhone will be available for free but buyers will have to deposit a fee of Rs 1500 which will be refundable after three years. This means the phone will be available at an effective price of zero.

The phone, targeted at 50 crore feature phone users in the country, will be available for pre-booking from August 24 on payment of a refundable security deposit of Rs 1,500.

This deposit will be refunded after 36 months on return of the phone, he said, adding that the price of the phone will be "effective zero".

He used the occasion to introduce his twin children, Akash and Isha, who presented the phone features that include calls and text messaging on voice command, Internet surfing and cable to connect the device to TV to view content, including videos.

"JioPhone will make the 2G feature phone obsolete," Ambani claimed, adding that the company is looking to bring 5 million phones to the market a week.

The JioPhone will be available for user testing in beta mode from August 15 and for pre-booking from August 24.

"Reliance democratised the equity culture in the past. Now, Jio will democratise the digital culture in India," he asserted. "Digital Life will no longer be the privilege of the affluent few."

Out of the 78 crore phones in India, Ambani said, 50 crore are feature phones that cannot be used for Internet or data usage. The new phone would give "affordable" device to these 50 crore users and "end the digital exclusion in India".

Reliance Jio, the fourth-generation telecom arm of Reliance Industries, will provide unlimited data on the phone for Rs 153 per month.

Jio, he said, already has 125 million users since its launch in September last year.

On Thursday, Reliance Industries reported its highest quarterly consolidated net profit of Rs 9,108 crore in three-months to 30 June on the back of higher petrochemical margins and one-time gain from sale of African asset.

Net profit in the April-June quarter at Rs 9,108 crore (Rs 30.8 per share) was 28 percent higher than Rs 7,113 crore (Rs 24.1 a share) in the same period of the last financial year, RIL said in a statement.

"Strong refining and petrochemicals margin environment contributed to higher operating profits for the quarter," it said.

Here are the highlights

* Mukesh Ambani says a person who invested Rs 1,000 in 1977 has earned Rs 16.5 lakh in 40 years.

* In less than 170 days, Jio hit 100 million, 7 customer per second.

* After the initial launch of Jio data consumption increased to 120 crores GB every month.

* India's data consumption since the launch of Jio is over 125GB per month

* In just 4 decades, Reliance has grown from a small startup to one of the largest companies in the world: Mukesh Ambani at RIL AGM 2017

* India was 155th in terms of mobile data consumption before Jio, now ranked 1.

* Kokilaben Ambani breaks down as Mukesh Ambani pays tribute to Dhirubhai Ambani at 40th AGM of Reliance.

* India has overtaken the US and China in terms of mobile data usage 

* Jio adoption even faster than WhatsApp, Skype, Facebook

* Jio has more than 100 million paying Jio Prime customers. Most have recharged on Jio's Rs 309 or higher plans: Mukesh Ambani

* In just 6 months of Jio's launch, data consumption in India went from 20 crore GB to 120 crore GB per month

* Unfairness and digital disempowerment must end. Jio is committing to end it today

* Exorbitant cost of 2G data charged by existing operators: Mukesh Ambani

* Jio is the leader in network coverage, usage, data speed, voice quality according to Trai rank 

* There are more than 50 crore feature phone users who have been left out of the digital revolution: Mukesh Ambani

* Jio to expand physical network to 10,000 to sell jio services

* It took 25 years for our competitors to build 2G network. Jio will have created a larger 4G network in just 3 years: Mukesh Ambani

* In the next 12 months, Jio services will cover 99% of our country's population: Mukesh Ambani

* We shall achieve this in three ways – Connectivity, Data Affordability and Device Affordability: Mukesh Ambani

* Today, Jio is going to reinvent the conventional feature phone. Let me introduce India ka Intelligent SmartPhone: Mukesh Ambani

* Turnover up 4,700 times to over Rs 330000 cr in 40 years; profit grows 10,000 times to Rs 30000 cr: Mukesh Ambani

Here are the features of new 4G feature phone at RIL AGM

* Out of 78 cr mobile phones in India, 50 cr feature phone users left out of digital revolution: Mukesh Ambani

* Jio phone supports all of India’s 22 languages

* Jio supports voice commands along with the easily accessible keyboard on the phone

* On the JioPhone, voice will always be free: Mukesh Ambani

* NFC payments coming to Jio Phone later this year

* Jio will give them access to unlimited data on the JioPhone: Mukesh Ambani

* If these users were to consume a similar quantity of data on other operator's network, they would spend Rs 4,000 – 5,000 per month, Jio will provide this at only Rs 153 per month, that is one-thirtieth, 3% of the existing price: Mukesh Ambani

* Jio feature phone will make the 2G feature phone obsolete: Mukesh Ambani

Jio feature phone price

The JioPhone is "effectively free," announced Mukesh Ambani. However, the company will charge Rs. 1,500 as a refundable sum for the device from users. This sum can be claimed back by the customer at the end of 36 months of purchase.

*Jio phone will be available to all Indians for an effective price of – Rs 0: Mukesh Ambani

* To protect against misuse of the free Jio phone offer we plan to collect a fully refundable, one-time, security deposit of Rs 1,500 with every Jio phone: Mukesh Ambani.

Jio feature phone launch date

JioPhone release date has been set as August 15, but as a beta test; public availability will be from September. Pre-booking starts on August 24, and deliveries will be on first come, first serve basis. Users can book the phone from Jio offline stores and MyJio app. The handset will be manufactured in India starting the last quarter of the year.

* Jio phones will be available from Sept 1 for users that have pre booked on first come first serve basis.

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