When Reliance Industries does a thing, it becomes the talk of the industry, not the town. Be it the Monsoon Hungama offer that it had launched 15 years back or the free offers it showered on customers with its 4G services launch, Reliance Industries has always brought disruption in the market. The latest disruption from RIL is going to be on devices when it launches its 4G feature phones, probably on August 15.
But Jio is not the only firm that is going to launch 4G feature phones in the Indian market, there are slew of handset makers waiting to join the bandwagon. The only difference could be these manufacturers, mostly Indian, may not match the scale of Reliance Jio. Affordability is one more factor where these vendors may not match the new 4G operator. While Jio is planning to launch its 4G feature phones at Rs 500, others are trying to be in the range of Rs 1200 to Rs 1600.
So, who are these other mobile phone makers readying with their 4G feature phone plans?
Lava International : Noida, UP, based Lava Mobiles is among the first ones to take action in this direction and they became the first company in India to launch a 4G feature phone. Lava launched the Lava 4G M1 in February this year. This is a 4G feature phone and was priced at Rs 3,333 – much higher than Jio’s anticipated price.
The 4G feature phone comes with a 2.4 inch display and is powered by by 1.2 GHz Quad core processor. It has 512 MB RAM and 4 GB of internal storage capacity. The phone runs on Android and is 4G enabled with ability to make VoLTE calls. The feature phone is equipped with 1750 Ah battery and has regular features like FM, Bluetooth and many pre-installed apps like Facebook Lite. It does have a single VGA camera.
InFocus : Once a US based independent company and now owned by Foxconn, InFocus is planning to launch its 4G feature phone within couple of quarters.
“We are readying with this plan, and will be able to bring 4G enabled feature phones by end of this year,” InFocus India VP, Piyush Puri told TeleAnalysis.
The company is expecting to sell 6 million phones by end of this year and 70% of it would constitute feature phones including the 4G ones.
Karbonn : Karbonn Mobiles, once a formidable force in Indian smartphone market, is little down now with their market share plunging to 2% by end of March, 2016. However, the company is planning to make a comeback and is putting up multiple plans for the revival. One of the plans is to launch 4G feature phones.
“We are working on that direction but we do not have a time frame when to launch,” says Karbonn Mobiles Executive Director Shashin Devsare. “However, we are tracking the consumers’ pulse and the market sentiment. “
Intex : Delhi based Intex Technologies that markets its phones under Intex brand is not far behind. This company, that was 3 quarters back the second largest Indian smartphone brand, is planning to launch a series of 4G feature phones in the Indian market. Sources in the company say at least 3 product lines are ready to be launched and they are in talks with operators for a bundled offer.
Intex could launch the phones by end of this year.
All the Chinese smartphone makers we spoke to, however, did not disclose their plans regarding the same. But it can easily be guessed that these players would take no time to flood India with their 4G feature phones if they see a traction for the device.