Reliance Jio has upped the ante in its fight for domination of the Indian telecom market, reducing the price of its cheapest ‘semi-smartphone’ to just Rs 699 for the current Diwali season.
Unlike its earlier offer of Rs 500 for the JioPhone, the Diwali offer comes without the need to exchange any old phone.
Moreover, it will also offer free data worth Rs 699, making the phone free.
“This is a clear saving of over Rs. 800 without any special conditions like having to exchange your old phone,” the company said.
“This price is far lower than many of the current 2G feature phones in the market. As such, the final barrier that has prevented feature phone users from upgrading to 4G services is now eliminated.”
Under the Jio Diwali Offer, users who get their Jiophones under the scheme will get a free data plan worth Rs 99 for the first seven recharges.
The free data plan will provide 500 MB of data every day. It should be mentioned that voice will not be given free under this 99-rupee recharge, unlike the regular 99-rupee recharge.
Under the regular Rs 99 plan for Jiophone, voice is also free, along with the 500 MB data per day.
For accessing voice, Jiophone users will have to recharge with Rs 49 for 28 days.
It is also likely that they can recharge with Rs 99 to get 1 GB of data (0.5 GB + 0.5 GB) per day as well.
Jiophone, which runs on a custom OS, supports limited apps, such as Facebook and WhatsApp, as well as JioTV, JioCinema and JioSaavn.
Jio said nealy 7 crore (70 mln) 2G users have been on-boarded on the JioPhone platform so far.
It said its aim is to get the remaining 35 crore Indians also on to its platform.
“These 35 crore 2G users currently make the difficult choice of either giving up data services altogether or paying extremely high data rates for poor quality 2G data. They neither have the benefit of free voice calls nor can they use the Internet,” it said.
The move is yet another blow for the likes of Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea, who are yet to come up with a viable alternative or counter to the Jiophone, which offers voice calls at less than half the rate charged by Airtel and Vodafone Idea.
Moreover, because it’s a 4G-only phone locked to Jio’s network, any user who surrenders his or her 2G phone to Jio is permanently lost to Airtel and Vodafone Idea.