India’s richest man-owned Reliance Jio makes headlines as it gears up to launch a $12 internet-connected mobile phone, aiming to enhance accessibility for millions.
These phones, known as “Jio Bharat,” will initially be available on a trial basis, according to Reliance Jio.
The Jio Bharat phones will come equipped with Reliance’s own video and music streaming apps, digital payment capabilities, and a camera.
Targeting the vast user base of non-smartphone “feature” phones, which currently amounts to around 250 million people in India, Reliance Jio aims to tap into an underserved market segment.
By introducing affordable connectivity options, Reliance Jio seeks to enable millions of individuals who remain trapped in the 2G era to access basic internet features.
As the 2G to 4G conversion in India remains a key aspect of the ongoing digital transformation, industry experts view this move as a significant step in widening access to the internet for customers at the bottom of the pyramid, the report noted.
Why It’s Important: This isn’t the first time the Ambani-led company has come up with a cheaper and more affordable version of popular yet expensive devices available in the market.
In May, the company launched its first-ever VR headset, JioDive, priced at just under $16.The headset’s cost is significantly cheaper than products launched by established global players like Meta Platforms Inc. META, whose latest device, Quest 3, is priced at $499.99 and Apple Inc.’s AAPL first-generation mixed reality headset, Vision Pro, at $3,499.
Last month, the company also unveiled Jio Tag, a BlueTooth tracking device, under its subsidiary Reliance Jio. The device is designed to compete with Apple’s AirTag
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