Though launched, Jio Phone is nowhere close to hitting the market – you might even have to wait a couple of months before you can get your hands on the device. That’s because the Jio-branded phone will become available for beta testing on August 15, but this will likely be for a very small section of the market. If you don’t get fall in the beta trials bracket, you will have to wait for August 24, when the Jio Phone bookings start. You will have the option to choose to make the Jio Phone booking online or through a retail outlet. This is beta trial system similar to what the company did roughly a year ago with its telecom network, when it held a beta trial for select users for a few months before opening it to the public in September.
Jio Phone booking online
Jio Phone is free, according to Reliance Industries Chairman Mukesh Ambani. Nevertheless, it requires the user to make an upfront payment of Rs. 1,500, which is refundable after three years. Regarding the Rs. 1,500 security deposit, he had said at the AGM, “The security deposit is necessary to avoid any potential misuse of data.”
Now getting to the topic of Jio Phone bookings online, you need the MyJio app to place the order for the handset. If you do not have access to the app but still want to book Jio Phone, you can head to an offline Jio retailer. Remember, the Jio Phone pre-booking date opens is August 24, but the handset will be delivered to consumers starting September on first-come-first-serve basis. You can head to the official website to sign up for updates regarding the device – just click on the Keep Me Posted button and fill the form on the next page.
Ambani said the company aims to ship 5 million units of the feature phone every week. We can expect more details to follow as the release date draws near.
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Jio Phone specifications, features
To recap on the Jio Phone, the entry-level phone will come with unlimited voice, data, and texts. Customers will have to recharge with a Jio Dhan Dhana Dhan monthly pack of Rs. 153, which will give them free voice, texts, unlimited data (high-speed data capped at 500MB per day), and free access to Jio apps for 28 days. At the 40th AGM, Ambani also announced an accessory “Jio Phone TV-Cable” that will allow users to connect their phones with any kind of television sets. For connecting phone to TV, users will have to recharge with Rs. 309 per month pack for large screen.
Talking about JioPhone features, the device comes with an alphanumeric keypad, 2.4-inch display with QVGA display, microSD card slot, torchlight, FM radio. The phone supports voice commands and 22 Indian languages, and has a panic button as well. A short demo of the voice command feature on Jio Phone was showcased during the keynote presentation where the device was able to play music via Jio Music. Additionally, the handset will also come with a panic button that is enabled when long-pressing the number 5. Moreover, the Jio phone will come with advanced NFC support for digital payments that will be rolled out to users via OTA software upgrade. Qualcomm and Spreadtrum have confirmed their chips power the new feature phone.
The phone does not have WhatsApp support at the moment, though we did catch glimpse of a web browser, Facebook, and PM Modi’s Mann Ki Baat broadcast during the unveiling at the Reliance AGM.
According to analysts, Reliance Jio aims to reach another 100 million users with its new feature phone; this will be in addition to the 125 million users that already use the Jio telecom network. Moreover, the 4G VoLTE-enabled feature phone will completely change the low-end phone segment and bring about a new era of innovation in this segment. On the other hand, industry body Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) has termed the Rs. 0 pricing a clever marketing move by the company and attempt to save government levies like licence fee.