JioPhone Next: Reliance Jio, Google Launch Budget Smartphone 
Sim card packets for Reliance Jio, the mobile network of Reliance Industries Ltd., are arranged for a photograph at a store. (Photographer: Dhiraj Singh/Bloomberg)

JioPhone Next: Reliance Jio, Google Launch Budget Smartphone 

Reliance Jio Infocomm Ltd. has announced the launch of its affordable smartphone, which the billionaire Mukesh Ambani-controlled carrier co-developed with Google, aiming to entice users of 2G or basic phones.

Jiophone Next is a fully-featured smartphone, supporting the entire suite of applications from Google and Jio, as well as the Android Play Store through which users will have access to the entire universe of Android Apps, Ambani, chairman at Reliance Industries Ltd., said at the company’s 44th annual general meeting.

The phone will be available in the market from Sept. 10, 2021. “JioPhone Next will be by far, among the most affordable smartphones not just in India, but globally,” Ambani said. The price of the smartphone, however, wasn’t revealed.

JioPhone Next, according to the statement, has features like the Google Assistant, automatic read-aloud of screen text, language translation, and smart camera with augmented reality filter. This affordable smartphone is expected to accelerate the transition of around 30 crore feature phone/2G users to smartphones.

“It’s built for India and will open up new possibilities for millions of new users who will experience the internet for the first time,” Sundar Pichai, chief executive officer at Alphabet Inc., parent of Google, was quoted as saying in a statement.

Pichai also announced a new 5G partnership between Google Cloud and Reliance Jio. “As part of this collaboration, Reliance will also shift its core retail businesses to Google Cloud’s infrastructure.”

Reliance Jio has also launched a low-cost 4G smartphone ‘Itel A23 Pro’ for Rs 3,899 in collaboration with Itel—part of the Transsion Group of China.

Research firm UBS in its May report had said migration of 2G or feature phone users to smartphone would expand the average revenue per user of Reliance Jio and accelerate its market share gains.

The carrier’s wireless subscriber base, according to the telecom regulator’s data, stood at 42.29 crore as of March 2021. The company added 37 lakh active or regularly paying users in the three months ended March. Reliance Jio’s ARPU fell 9% sequentially to Rs 138 in the fourth quarter of FY21.

The telecom company has acquired the right to use spectrum in all 22 circles across India. Through this, its total spectrum footprint has increased by 56% to 1,732 MHz.

Also read: RIL AGM: Full Text Of Mukesh Ambani’s Address To Shareholders

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