Small device, big impact: "Jio Phone to shake up many industries apart from telecom"

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It was 5th September 2016 when India’s richest man, Mukesh Ambani launched Reliance Jio and singlehandedly changed the course of the Indian telecom industry.

We are now nearing September again and Mukesh Ambani is getting ready to launch the much talked about ‘Jio phone’. The new feature phone from Reliance Jio is expected to once again shake the industry to its core but this time around the massive disruption will be felt not just by the telecom sector but other industries too. Here’s a look at Jio Phone’s impact on some key industries.

Telecom Industry
Reliance Jio has just about started to test its new feature phone; incumbent operators in the telecom industry are still adjusting to the major ripples created by Jio services, and it should get ready for yet another storm. With the Jio phone, the telecom industry can expect another set of major tariff cuts considering Jio phone will come bundled with Jio sim. Customers will have to recharge with a Jio Dhan Dhana Dhan monthly pack of Rs. 153, which will give them free voice, texts, unlimited data (high-speed data capped at 500MB per day), free access to Jio apps for 28 days along with a device that’s “effectively free”. Jio has already made operators rethink their strategies by launching the new device, we are likely to see more operators bring out feature phones, Idea has already talked about launching their own device to compete with Jio phone. And lastly with the new “smartish” feature phone that works only on 4G VoLTE network, Jio could finally bring an end to the ‘2G/3G’ era.

Smartphone Industry
We all saw what happened to the telecom sector after Jio’s entry and we can certainly expect a similar kind of disruption in the low-end smartphone market as well. While India is the fastest growing smartphone market in the world, almost 50% of the mobile phone users in India still use feature phones. That’s a huge number and a market to ignore. Mukesh Ambani made it clear in his AGM speech that he is looking to capture the feature phone market of India with his new phone, reason why the new phone is specifically designed for the ‘feature phone’ market of India. The device comes with 2.4-inch display with QVGA display, microSD card slot, torchlight, FM radio, supports voice commands in 22 Indian languages, has a panic button and comes with advanced NFC support for digital payments. With Jio aiming to deliver 5 million units every week to consumers across the country, low-end smartphone companies like Intex, Micromax, Lava will have to match up to the new Jio phone that will be sold for Rs. 1500 which will be refunded at the end of three years. The Low-end manufacturers are certain to feel the Jio heat and it may not be limited to the low end device manufacturers but also companies selling smartphones under Rs. 5000. Jio’s new phone is packaged in a way that makes it the perfect device to introduce both smartphone and 4G network to the feature phone market of the country.

DTH Market
The DTH industry in India is already trying to keep up with internet video services like Netflix, Hotstar, Voot and many others, now the sector needs to watch out for the disruption from Jio Phone. Jio phone will come pre-loaded with all Jio apps including Jio TV, Jio Cinema, Jio Music etc making the phone an all in one entertainment device, meaning Jio Phone can very easily turn into a DTH device in itself by simply topping up for Rs. 309 per month.
It’s also important to note that Mukesh Ambani specially talked about one key accessory with the phone during the Jio Phone announcement, he said that Jio phone will come with "Jio Phone TV-Cable" that will allow users to connect their phones to TV, even the ‘non-smart’ TVs. This attachment with the phone is a clear hint that Jio wants the new phone to be an overall entertainment device and not just a phone. And streaming entertainment from phone and blasting it on to TV could potentially be a better deal as it will free the users from setting up expensive hardware and paying costly monthly charges.

As we get closer to the launch date, all these industries will have to get back to their drawing boards and create products that can give a tough fight to the latest from Reliance Jio, the Jio phone. Within a year, Jio has managed to add 125 million subscribers to its network and according to analysts, Reliance Jio with get its next 100 million users from its new feature phone.

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