There is going to be a tough competition between telecom companies for 35 crore feature phone users. Reliance Jio is about to finalize its deal with the Chinese handset maker for subsidized SIM-locked smartphones. These smartphones of Reliance Jio will come with 4G data, voice and own content service. People familiar with the matter said that for this, the company has made the first tie-up with the iTel brand of China and under this, smartphones priced at Rs 3-4 thousand will be launched.
The phones will be developed under the Geo-Google partnership
The new affordable smartphones will be developed under the Jio-Google partnership. With this partnership, Jio’s target is to connect 35 million feature phone users to its network. Most of the users are from Jio’s rival companies Airtel and Vodafone.
Airtel is preparing to bring cheap 4G smartphone
According to an ET report, Airtel is also in talks with some handset makers regarding subsidized sim-locked smartphones worth Rs 2-2.5 thousand. Airtel is currently the second largest telecom company in the country. Out of 28 million user base of AirRetal, about 108 million are 2G / 3G users. As far as Vodafone-Idea is concerned, the number of its 2G / 3G users is 13.8 crore. According to industry experts, Vodafone will need a similar partnership to not fall behind Airtel and Jio.
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Part of Jio’s 2G free India project
An Indian brand executive told ET on condition of anonymity, “While iTel has a partnership on the one hand, Jio is also looking to partner with Indian handsets brands for cheaper 4G smartphones on the other hand. This is part of Jio’s 2G free India project. Jio and iTel have not answered ET’s questions about this.
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Initially ordered 10 million handsets
The top executive of another Indian handset brand said that Jio has started talks with Indian handsets players and global contract manufacturers for cheap 4G smartphones. The company can launch these devices in partnership with Jio brand and Google. Sources said that Jio is planning to initially order 10 million smartphones.