Reliance Jio, the telecommunications division of Reliance Industries Ltd, a conglomerate involved in oil and retail, introduced the Jio Bharat phone on July 3. The primary goal of this initiative is to provide internet-enabled phones to India’s significant number of feature phone users.
Reliance Jio emphasized that there are still around 250 million mobile consumers in the country who face constraints due to 2G technology and have basic phones without internet connectivity.
To tackle this issue, the telecommunications giant launched the Jio Bharat phone, aiming to grant access to digital services to every Indian, particularly those who cannot afford a smartphone.
Jio Bharat Phone Features
Now, let’s delve into the key details regarding the Jio Bharat phone, including its price, features, specifications, connectivity tariff plans, and other significant information.
The JioBharat phone offers several notable features and benefits. It supports expandable storage through SD cards, allowing users to increase the phone’s storage capacity up to 128GB. Additionally, it enables UPI payments through JioPay, making digital transactions more accessible.
The Jio Bharat phone includes entertainment options as well. Users have access to JioCinema, which provides a wide range of movies, videos, and sports entertainment. Furthermore, JioSaavn offers access to over 8 crore songs in multiple languages, catering to various musical preferences.
Reliance Jio has designed connectivity plans for the Jio Bharat phone to be both affordable and data-rich. The 28-day plan, priced at Rs 123, provides users with 14 GB of data (equivalent to 0.5 GB per day). Users can enjoy unlimited voice calls within this plan. This plan is 30 percent cheaper than similar offerings from other operators and provides seven times more data.
For those seeking a longer-term plan, the Jio Bharat phone offers a Rs 1,234 plan for the entire year. This plan includes unlimited voice calls and 168 GB of data (0.5 GB per day). The yearly plan is 25 percent cheaper than what other operators offer and provides seven times more data.
To promote its mission of achieving a “2G-Mukt Bharat” (a 2G-free India), Reliance Jio aims to provide internet-enabled phones to the existing 250 million feature phone users in the country who are still using 2G networks. To achieve this, other phone brands, starting with Karbonn, will adopt the “Jio Bharat platform” to manufacture Jio Bharat phones.
A beta trial for the first 1 million Jio Bharat phones is set to commence on July 7. The trial will take place in 6,500 tehsils (administrative divisions) across the country, with the aim of ensuring the phones meet the needs and expectations of users.
According to a report by JP Morgan, the introduction of the JioBharat phone has the potential to disrupt the 2G market and contribute to Jio’s market share growth, especially considering the diminishing success of Jiophone devices.
The report highlights that Bharti recently increased 2G prices from Rs 99 to Rs 155 across all circles, while Vi implemented this price hike in only one circle. This disruptive move by Jio could impede further tariff increases in the 2G segment and enable Jio to capture a larger market share in that particular segment. It is worth noting that Jio has already taken an aggressive approach in the premium market segment by introducing competitive postpaid plans and competitive fiber pricing in March 2023.