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5 reasons Reliance Jio 4G feature phone is a masterstroke

Reliance has already pretty much disrupted the Indian Telecom market with its Jio services and now it plans to take things up a notch. A few rumours this week suggested that the Reliance Jio is getting a 4G enabled feature phone out for consumers loaded with Jio services, which will be priced around Rs 1,499, and now a tweet by Twitter user Rajath Kumar revealed what this feature phone would actually look like.

The LYF device has subtle aesthetics, sporting a conventional candy-bar style design. The device also gets a call receive/end button, a T9 alphanumeric keyboard along with four dedicated Jio buttons on the first row. The four buttons include MyJio, JioTV, JioCinema and JioMusic.

Now many might think launching a feature phone could be step backwards as people won’t be able to use 4G or smartphone like features on a feature phone which has limited capabilities, but there are reasons why this could be big for Reliance. Here are five reasons why this would be disruptive.

1. Only a fraction of the population in the country actually use smartphones. According to CMR reports, feature phones still rule the market. Up until November 2016, sales of feature phones came to an approximate 25 million, as opposed to 19 million for smartphones.

Even with smartphones becoming more affordable, feature phones still comprise of 55 percent of all mobile phones. Moreover, reports also state that less than 15 percent feature phone users actually want to get a smartphone.

So Reliance would actually be targeting a large segment of the market and also a segment which isn't interested in smartphones. It is a unique strategy and a clever one especially given its feature phone will support 4G connections.

2. This will be one of the first feature phones in the category to support 4G network connectivity, something only smartphones have been able to do. People who want to switch to faster 4G connectivity, will also need to face the complications of a smartphone.

A smartphone for someone doing from a feature phone is like a whole new world and they need to relearn everything. They need to deal with a touchscreen which can be very alien at first and also need to understand user interface concepts like pinch to zoom slide down and swipe up.

If you've taught a grandparent how to use a smartphone, then you know how difficult that can be. However, with Reliance Jio feature phone many people who want to enjoy high speed connectivity wouldn't need to go through the hassles of relearning things. This could be a masterstroke.

3. Moreover, people who stay in rural areas can't afford a smartphone, even the most affordable ones. They still are prohibitively expensive for a developing country like India. Getting connected to the Internet is a different story altogether.

But, in case of Jio, these feature phones will come loaded with Reliance Jio services coupled with really competitive tariff plans which begin at just Rs 19 per day or Rs 149 per month offering users unlimited calls and texts messages. This is something that the people wanting to buy phones in this price category prioritise on.

4. Most feature phones don’t necessarily have a ton of features to boast. However, Reliance Jio’s feature phone will definitely stand out of the crowd, as the device is also coming loaded with Jio services, like Jio Music, which allows for unlimited music streaming, or Jio TV, which lets users stream live TV on their device, and Jio Cinema which allows users to watch movies on demand on the feature phone itself, something that would make this feature phone a lot more feature-heavy.

At the bare minimum, users will get to use Jio's smart services which smartphone users can also avail. This will be a good way to offer people the best of both worlds, and at the same time Reliance could capture a lot of market share for its services.

5. Along with cheap tariff plans, Reliance Jio devices will also include the New Year offer, which offers free calls, data and texts for its subscribers, including the Jio services like JioTV, Jio Music and others, making a more appealing overall package.

There are rumours which suggest till the network connectivity issues are resolved, Reliance could extend the New Year offer in a bid to increase its subscriber base and also iron issues with its network.

Surely, amidst these amazing offerings by the brand, the bitter truth of poor network connectivity still exists, however if we think about it, Jio has come a long way since it has started its services last year.

Shrey Kapoor is a Tech-Enthusiast, Harvard certified Cyber Security and Cyber Forensics Expert. He Founder, which is one of the India's Top Tech News Website. Even Forbes and many other renowned publishers took his articles reference. Shrey is a Technology analyst, strategic thinker and creative writer who is passionate to deliver the best, latest possible Tech-News to his followers and subscribers. He completed his masters in Artificial Intelligence & Robotics, certified in IPR, T.Q.M. & ISO 9001:2008 In Quality Management Systems.

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