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Jio launches a 4G feature phone with voice command and NFC

Mukesh Ambani led Reliance Jio today launched its 4G feature phone during the company’s Annual General Meeting (AGM) held today. The phone will be available at a cost of Rs 1,500 as a refundable security deposit, but the company claims to be offering it for a ‘net price’ of Rs 0. The security deposit will be refunded to the user only after 3 years, and the device must be returned to the company in order to redeem the deposit. The phone will be launched as a public beta test starting August 15th, while Jio users can start pre-booking the phone starting August 24th.

Note that the phone will be available only on a first-come first-serve basis, and the company is targeting to sell 5 million phones every week. In addition, Jio unveiled a new Rs 153 recharge pack for JioPhone users with unlimited data, free voice/video calls and a subscription to Jio apps. Below is a lowdown of the features.

JioPhone Features

  • Voice command and Indic language support: In addition to text, JioPhone claims to have an inbuilt voice assistant. It process voice commands in English and Hindi and users can make calls, send texts, play music/movies, etc. using voice commands. The phone’s interface will be available in all 22 languages, Jio said.
  • NFC Payments: The phone comes with Near Field Communication (NFC) support, and Jio says it will allow users to link their bank accounts, debit/credit cards, UPI and store it as a digitally into the phone. Payments can be made by tapping on the merchant’s PoS terminal. The feature seems to be borrowed from Samsung Pay which is currently live in India, while Jio’s NFC payment will go live by this year, the company siad.
  • Screen mirroring: For Rs 309, Jio is offering a phone-to-TV casting cable which will allow JioPhone users to mirror their screens on TV screens. The cable supports all kinds of TV models including smart TVs, LED/LCD TVs and even CRT based TVs. Along with the Rs 309 package, users can stream 3-4 videos for free.
  • Panic Button: JioPhone also comes with an inbuilt panic button which is assigned to keypad 5. Users can assign an emergency number or a favourite contact no; when pressed the phone sends out latitude, longitude, address, and other location details of the person in distress.

Jio users’ data usage habits and other highlights

Ambani said during the AGM meeting that in less than 170 days, more than 100 million customers, signed up for Jio’s telecom services. On an average, Jio claims to have added 7 customers per second, every day. In total, Jio has over 125 million customers (paid+unpaid).

  • New offices, ecommerce integrations, fiber plans: Jio says that it plans to install 10,000 offices across the country and 10 lac outlets and distribution stores, and integrate with major ecommerce websites to sell its products and services. Ambani also hinted on a fiber service launch, although no timeline was given. He, however, said that the company is on track laying down fibre cables to build a wired network in the country.
  • Data, video, voice usage: Jio claims that its users are consuming 250 crore minutes of voice and video calls on a daily basis. Jio customers alone are consuming 125GB of data every month. This includes a 165,000 crore hours of video streaming.
  • Free to paid conversion: Jio claims to have converted a majority of its free user base into paying customers. Jio has more than 100 million paying customers while most of them are on Rs 309 pack or above, Ambani said during the AGM.

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