Cometh the revolution, cometh Reliance. This time the price of 5G smartphones under the radar of Reliance.
The trailblazer’s next move has sent tremors throughout the telecom sphere in India, yet again!
Reliance Jio is in works to launch a 5G smartphone for a measly Rs. 3,000, with an eye on entering and capturing mobile manufacturing.
According to emerging reports, the price of upcoming Jio smartphones, built on Google’s Android platform, could be further slashed to a price range of Rs.2500 – Rs.3000 a unit, when it hits the market in 2021. That would, of course, be the case when operations are scaled up. However, putting into perspective that the devices would come enabled with 4G and 5G technology, costing down by arguably ten times, it is going to cause a huge upheaval in the mobile market.
Mukesh Ambani has made no secret of his ambitions for the lucrative Indian smartphone market. Speaking at the 43rd AGM of RIL a few months back, he declared that Jio was targeting 500 million mobile customers by 2023, promising to bring out highly-affordable 4G and 5G devices that would run on the Android operating system provided by its new partner Google. The move also looks to target the vast volume of 350 million Indian user base still in the grips of a 2G feature phone.
At a time when India stands at the cusp of the 5G era, Ambani has led a clarion call to make India ‘2G-mukt’. With such an inexpensive, ground-breaking offering, it will certainly help in the migration from 2G to higher-end services, opening up new frontiers of expansion in the Indian digital and telecom space.
The disruptive quotient that the launch could potentially entail may well be unparalleled. At present, the 5G capable phones begin a price range of around Rs.25,000 – Rs.30,000. Bear in mind, this is the same titan that gave the country access to CDMA technology at a time when cellphones were deemed a luxury (circa 2002).
Reliance Jio was the prime catalyst for the 4G swarm in India in 2016. Clearly, with its other ventures, Reliance intends to win the ground before the battle even begins. The company which has already dethroned Airtel and Vodafone with over 400 million subscribers is now looking to cement its dominant position by taking a big leap right from the beginning itself.
Reliance has long worked at creating this bundled data and mobile phone ecosystem. The company is presently engaged in creating its own 5G network equipment. It has already put forth a request to the Department of Telecom to allocate spectrum for testing. The Rs. 33,737 crore investment by Google for a 7.7% stake in Jio Platforms, was precisely for helping it to build an Android-based smartphone operating system. With each deal looking to complete its closed-loop ecosystem, Reliance’s plans are set to come to fruition.
Reliance has always been a game-changer, and it seems to be on the way to do an encore in the entry-level smartphone segment. Between the government’s PLI benefit scheme to boost smartphone manufacturing in India and the slow conversion rate of Bharti and Vodafone-Idea from 2G, 3G and 4G, Reliance has turned the tables on its rivals here too.
It would be interesting to see how the competitors in the smartphone market are going to respond to soon to debut Reliance Jio 5G smartphones.
Stay tuned to this space for more updates.