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Reliance Jio Lyf phones start at Rs 15k; Where are the Rs 4k handsets?


Reliance Jio has launched its 4G Lyf smartphones at Reliance Digital stores, reports NextBigWhat. The phones were first unveiled earlier this month, at which point only employees of the company could buy them. Jio had similarly launched its 4G services for employees last month, ahead of the planned consumer rollout by March this year.

The 3 new smartphone models launched by the company are for sale online as well as in Reliance Digital’s offline outlets. As of now, the website lists LYF Water 1, LYF Water 2 and LYF Earth 1 smartphones. Water 2 is the most basic of these phones with a 720p 5” LCD display, 2GB RAM and an Snapdragon 615 chip. Water 1 is a slightly upgraded model with a 1080p display, while Earth 1 is the highest end of the lot with a 1080p AMOLED 5.5” display, 3GB RAM and a slightly overclocked Snapdragon 615. Other than this, all phones feature dual SIM slots and run Android 5 and above.

Jio has priced these phones at Rs 15,499 for Water 2, Rs 17,399 for Water 1 and Rs 23,990 for Earth 1. However, we feel these prices are quite high given cheaper phones from Xiaomi and Micromax have similar specifications. Granted flagship models from well known companies tend to be more expensive, but Reliance is not really known for its ability to make hardware/devices and as such might find it hard to convince buyers to buy its smartphones. The company is already offering 5-14% discounts on these phones.

Note that in June last year, Mukesh Ambani said the company would launch 4G LTE smartphones at prices below Rs. 4,000 by December 2015, however these are yet to launch.

Bundled data & benefits: According to this Telecom Talk report, Jio is currently offering employees with 75GB 4G data, 4500 minutes of VoLTE talktime and 9,000 free messages with a 90 day validity as combo plans bundled with the Lyf smartphones. This is useful given that Lyf smartphones feature dual-SIM capabilities so users can keep their primary number while trying out Jio.

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Interestingly, the report also mentions that the telco is offering its employees and their families with unlimited access to Jio Play, Jio VoD, Jio Beats, Jio Mags, Jio News and Jio Xpress News as well as 100GB storage on Jio Drive, essentially zero rating its services.

RCom partnership: Earlier this month, Reliance Communications (RCOM) and Reliance Jio signed agreements for spectrum allotment in 800 MHz band across 9 circles from RCOM to Reliance Jio. The companies also agreed to share spectrum in 800 MHz band across 17 circles. The companies said they also intend to enter into reciprocal Intra Circle Roaming (ICR) agreements.

Credit Suisse’s Research & Analytics report: Last month, Credit Suisse’s Research and Analytics released its assessment of Reliance Jio’s 4G field trials and said the network speeds averaged at around 15-30 Mbps download speeds. The firm also said that calls over Jio connections work as well as regular phone calls.

Presence in 18,000 cities:  In July, Reliance Jio claimed that it was present in all 29 states in India and had a direct physical presence in nearly 18,000 cities and towns. It also claimed to have built an optical fibre network consisting nearly 250,000 route kilometres.

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