Reliance Jio is said to have plans to launch feature phones with 4G VoLTE support, priced between Rs999 and Rs1,500. The company is said to have two such low-cost Reliance Jio VoLTE feature phones in the pipeline, which would be offered with bundled free voice calls and other services.
The Hindustan Times reported that Reliance Jio's low-cost 4G VoLTE feature phones would use Spreadtrum chipsets to enable 4G VoLTE calls. The report which, cited unnamed people familiar with the matter said that Reliance Jio was ''expectedly in talks'' with Qualcomm and MediaTek, which accounted for a huge chunk of the processors used in smartphones nowadays.
These Reliance Jio VoLTE feature phones might become a vehicle for the company to promote its bundled apps, such as Jio Chat, Live TV, video-on-demand, and JioMoney. Reliance Jio's VoLTE feature phones would feature cameras on the front and the back.
Two 4G VoLTE feature phones by Reliance Jio are said to be in the offing at present. However, there was no clarity as to the launch timeline of these devices. IDC's Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker shows that Reliance Jio was the fifth-biggest smartphone vendor of India in Q3 2016.
Currently 5G, VoLTE smartphones are available at prices starting at Rs3,500-4,000
Meanwhile, some commentators question the accuracy of the reports and point out that the cheap phone, does not make sense. Jio already had Rs3,000 phones, which were part of company's Lyf Flame series. They say the phones were not good and even the phone dealers trying to sell them usually asked people to spend a few hundred rupees more and get better Lyf phones. It was surely possible for Jio to come out with even cheaper phones, but that would mean even more cost cutting and rendering the cheap phone unusable.
Also, it was not a smartphone, but a feature phone and a fast network on a feature phone made little sense, they say.