After taking the telecom sector by storm with its lucrative 4G offers, Reliance Jio looks all set to launch India’s cheapest 4G VoLTE smartphone. According to a report on News World India, Reliance Jio is likely to launch the country’s cheapest 4G VoLTE smartphone sometime in early next year. The Mukesh Ambani-led telecom venture will reportedly launch the smartphone in the range of Rs 1,000 to Rs 1,500. While Reliance Jio is yet to comment on the buzz, reports suggest that the phone will be powered by a Spreadtrum 9820 processor. The smartphone is also expected to boast of a good quality camera, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and decently large display, the report added. Reliance already has the LYF range of 4G-enabled smartphones that start from Rs 2,999.
Reliance Jio Infocomm’s 4G launch has led to the demand for devices supporting voice over long-term evolution (VoLTE)) almost doubling up. This comes as a good news for other 4G operators in India, like Bharti Airtel, Idea Cellular, Vodafone, Reliance Communications, Telenor and BSNL, as well. A study by Counterpoint Research says that around 7 out of every 10 smartphones which were shipped in India were LTE capable and 8 out of every 10 LTE capable smartphones were VoLTE ready in the third quarter of 2016.
India’s three big telecom players – Bharti Airtel, Vodafone and Idea Cellular – are being challenged by new entrant Reliance Jio Infocomm. But all is not well even in Reliance Jio’s paradise. The 4G data speed of Reliance Jio declined by about 20 per cent in October across 17 circles. According to a report by CLSA, Reliance Jio saw a 20 per cent fall in speeds from 7.2 mbps in September to 6 mbps in October and with 17 of the 22 markets reporting the fall, a quick subscriber ramp-up led by ‘free offers’ impacted service quality in most markets.
Jio’s current speed of 6 mbps is almost half of Airtel’s 4G speed of 11.47 mbps, which is likely to help Airtel retain its market share lead. During the same period, Bharti Airtel saw an increase in speeds in 10 of its 16 4G markets and also expanded its 4G service to cover 19 of the total 22 markets. Reliance’s disappointing 4G speeds might have a favourable impact for Airtel which may be able to hold on to its market share. Which way this telecom war goes is anybody’s guess, but with the biggies jostling to woo consumers, the plethora of launches and offers are bound to keep people happy.