Reliance Jio is set to disrupt another market again, to launch 4G feature phones as low as Rs 999

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Reliance Jio Infocomm is now going to storm the feature phones market and is going to launch 4G LTE or VoLTE enabled feature phones. Reliance Jio is likely to roll out free voice calls in feature phones.

According to an analyst, a large number of customers are likely to take the handsets, expected to be launched by the Mukesh Ambani -led telecom operator, at Rs 999 and Rs 1,500 during this quarter. This will prove to be a big disappointment for other telecom players.

"If VoLTE feature phones come into the market, then there won't be a driving force pushing for the upgrade to smartphones; rather it will be an upgrade from feature phones to VoLTE feature phones. It will be a challenging time for the smartphone market, which could see flat growth in 2017,” Faizal Kawoosa, principal analyst at Cybermedia Research, told ET.

Jio's VoLTE feature phones are likely to have front-facing and rear cameras, and may come bundled with apps such as Jio Chat, Live TV and video-on-demand. The company may also push its digital wallet service, Jio Money Wallet, according to people in the know.

Analysts said projections of growth in India's smartphone market this year may have to be revised downwards when Jio's VoLTE feature phones make their impact.

Jio's VoLTE feature phones could increase the rate of migration within the feature phone category while lowering that of feature phones to smartphones, they said.

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