Idea plans to sell cheaper phones to compete with Reliance JioPhone

Aditya Birla Group-owned Idea Cellular recently said it is working with handset makers to introduce cheaper phones.

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Highlights

    • Idea to partner smartphone makers
    • Idea to sell cheaper phones
    • Said to price somewhere around Rs 2,500

Mukesh Ambani-led Reliance Jio continues being a trendsetter in India’s telecom industry. We’ve seen in the past that everything Reliance Jio does directly or indirectly affect the way other telecom providers are operating in the country. Recently, Reliance Jio announced JioPhone, the company’s most-anticipated feature phone, with much fanfare in Mumbai. It hasn’t even been ten days and one of the major telecom operators Idea Cellular is boasting of that it will leave no stone unturned in trying to compete with JioPhone.

Aditya Birla Group-owned Idea Cellular recently said it is working with handset makers to introduce cheaper phones, reports a news agency PTI. However, the company has made it clear that it will not subsidise handsets.

Image: Reuters
Image: Reuters

“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 smartphone can be brought down to reasonable levels,” said Himanshu Kapania, Managing Director at Idea Cellular Limited

According to Kapania, since Reliance Jio will distribute its handsets in huge numbers, Idea needs to work with OEMs to announce similar phones in the marketplace. He also said the phone would be priced somewhere around Rs 2,500.

Reliance JioPhone is a 4G VoLTE enabled handset, which comes with a Jio branding. It offers 22 of India’s major languages in addition to a voice assistant so that users can input voice commands to make calls or send text messages. JioPhone will be retailing at an “effective” price of Rs 0. However, customers need to pay Rs 1,500 deposit which is refundable upon returning the phone after three years.