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market | IST

JioPhone Next a big game changer for Reliance, say experts

Jio's big phone launch this week is the big cue for Reliance Industries Limited’s (RIL) stock as well in this week. During the company's annual general meeting (AGM) earlier this year the JioPhone Next was unveiled and it was announced that it will be launched on Ganesh Chaturthi, September 10, which is this coming Friday. Amnish Agarwal of Prabhudas Lilladher and Abhijeet Bora of BNP Paribas shared their views.

Jio's big phone launch this week is the big cue for Reliance Industries Limited's (RIL) stock as well. During the company's annual general meeting (AGM) earlier this year, the JioPhone Next was unveiled and it was announced that it will be launched on Ganesh Chaturthi, September 10, which is on Friday this week.
This smartphone has been developed by Reliance in partnership with Google. It is called the JioPhone Next. It has been stated that it will run on a customised Android operating system. This is tailor-made for India - tailor-made language options and will also have a good camera.
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What is the big deal? Another smartphone right?
Wrong.
There are various media reports which indicate that this could be effectively the cheapest smartphone in the market. For some perspective - In 2020, 25 percent of all smartphones sold in India were priced at less than Rs 7500. The cheapest smartphone is priced at Rs 5000.
Are we looking at a super competitive price?
CLSA estimates that if the JioPhone Next has a price point of less than Rs 5,000, it could sell around 20 lakh units a month.
Also, if it may come with a one locked 4G Jio sim slot - it could further strengthen Jio's lead in entry level 4G smartphone user base.
Of course, the company could also come up with plans and offers to convert its existing 10 crore plus 4G feature phone users to upgrade to the JioPhone Next. This is a line verbatim from the CLSA report which states – “JioPhone Next, along with its attractively priced 4G feature phone, may allow Jio to dominate the price conscious segment in both the feature as well as smartphone space."
Mukesh Ambani, Chairman of Reliance, said at the company's AGM, "While being ultra-affordable, JioPhone Next is packed with cutting-edge features like the voice assistant, automatic read-aloud of screen text, language translation, smart camera with augmented reality filters and much more."
And since this phone has been developed in partnership with Google, here is a comment from Sundar Pichai, CEO, Google on the JioPhone Next, "Our teams have optimised a version of our android OS especially for this device. It will offer language and translation features, a great camera, and support for the latest android updates. It is built for India."
Can this be a big disruptive event? Pricing will be very keenly watched and there could be a lot of strategies employed to make this a very competitive phone. It could be a fintech, buy now pay later, tie-ups with financers - all of this could mean a very effective price point.
"This could be a big game-changer as far as the overall smartphone penetration in India is concerned. It could result in a significant increase in the market share for Jio in the telecom market in the longer-term. It will be more a boon for more than 300 million customers in India who still don’t have a 4G smartphone and the bigger implication could be for fintech, consumer-tech areas,” said Amnish Agarwal of Prabhudas Lilladher.
“There are close to around 30 crore 2G subscribers as of date. If they are able to garner at least around 30-40 percent to their side over the next couple of years, it will be a big game-changer for them in terms of the subscriber addition, plus the upgradation would lead to higher average revenue per user (ARPU). So it is difficult to quantify in absolute numbers but it is a very clear strategy that they would continue with a strong subscriber addition trend and the improvement in the ARPU because of all these efforts,” Abhijeet Bora of BNP Paribas said.
For the full interview, watch the accompanying video.
Disclosure: Network18, the parent company of CNBCTV18.com, is controlled by Independent Media Trust, of which Reliance Industries is the sole beneficiary.