Hoardings of JioPhone seen at Altamount Road, Mumbai, India. (Photographer: Anirudh Saligrama/BloombergQuint)

JioPhone Users Are Gorging On Data

Mukesh Ambani’s low-cost feature phone users are addicted to data—even if it means paying more.

JioPhone, which became the best-selling device in its category in just a year of launch, has 25 million users. And each one of them on an average consumes 7 gigabytes of data a month, according to Anshuman Thakur, head of strategy and planning at Reliance Jio Infocomm Ltd.

The wireless carrier’s each user consumes 10 GB a month on an average. That compares with the average monthly data consumption of 2 GB for the industry, according to the telecom regulator. It jumped nearly ninefold since the launch of Reliance Jio, which upended tariffs in the world’s second-largest telecom market. That hurt revenues of incumbents, either forcing them to consolidate or driving them out of business.

Also read: Q1 Results: Price War Spares Reliance Jio’s Profit

JioPhone took faster 4G data to price-conscious feature phone users. Consumer are discovering content on JioPhone and coming back to consume the same stuff, Thakur said. Average daily engagement on the JioPhone is over five hours, he said.

That’s when YouTube, WhatsApp, and Facebook are still not available to them—Ambani has promised to provide the services by Aug. 15. They can watch live TV, videos and listing two music through Jio’s own apps that come pre-loaded.

The number of JioPhone users have been growing at a faster pace since the operator launched its Monsoon Hungama, Thakur said.

It allows any user to exchange any feature phone with JioPhone for Rs 501 that will be refunded. The customer is also required to purchase six coupons of Rs 99 each that allows him to use the data for six months. With 500 MB of daily data limit, Jio offers 90 GB for six months. “We want to ensure people just don’t buy the phone and keep, they should be using the phone to consume data,” said Thakur.

Not Averse To Paying More

JioPhone users are now spending more on data. About 90 percent of them have migrated to the Rs 153 a month plan that offers 1.5 GB of data a day—the rest subscribe to the entry-level Rs 49 a month plan.

The company reported its third straight profit in three months ended June, but average revenue generated per user narrowed to Rs 134.5, the lowest since inception. Yet, it was still better than what the analysts had estimated.

Ambani now targets 100 million JioPhone users. India, according to a CLSA report, there are around 500 million feature phone users.

Also read: Reliance Jio Tops 4G Download Speed In May; Idea’s Upload Rate Is The Highest