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Can Jio Phone Next be priced under Rs 3,000? Well, yes and no

Jio Phone Next price in India will be revealed next week. We look at whether it is possible for Jio to price the 4G smartphone under Rs 3,000 in 2021.

By Sanket Vijayasarathy -

Jio Phone Next is the next big smartphone launch to look forward to in India before the year ends. The phone’s release had to be delayed and it’s now expected to arrive around Diwali. In fact, a recent report suggests the Jio Phone Next will launch on Diwali day i.e. November 4th. Earlier this week, Reliance Jio released a short film that gave us a glimpse into the making of the Jio Phone Next. We know the device is made in India, it runs on an all-new Pragati OS based on Android, and it is powered by a Qualcomm chipset. What the company hasn’t revealed yet is the Jio Phone Next price in India.

At the Reliance AGM 2021, Reliance Industries chairman Mukesh Ambani revealed that the Jio Phone Next will be the most affordable 4G smartphone in the world. This loaded statement tells us that we can expect an ultra-low price tag for the Jio Phone Next, which is not an unknown territory for the company.

Jio has launched sub-Rs 3,000 4G phones before

Way back in 2016, Reliance launched 4G smartphones under the Lyf brand. The company introduced super affordable 4G LTE Lyf-branded smartphones with prices starting from Rs 2,999. For Reliance Jio, the aim back then is the same as the one today — offer low-cost 4G smartphones to disrupt the market and bring 2G users to its 4G network.

Can Jio Phone Next be priced under Rs 3,000? Well, yes and no

At Rs 2,999, Reliance offered the Lyf 4G smartphones without Google Play Store. The phones were offered with AOSP (Android Open Source Project). They also came with only 512MB of RAM. The upcoming Jio Phone Next will be an upgrade on both fronts, but this could also force Jio to price the device over Rs 3,000?

Jio Phone Next price in India has already been tipped

While we wait for the official Jio Phone Next price, reports over the last few months suggest the device will cost Rs 3,499. If true, this would still make the smartphone one of the most affordable 4G smartphones in the market. But if you’re hoping for a sub-Rs 3,000, the odds look slim.

There are a few factors why Reliance might not be able to launch the Jio Phone Next at Rs 2,999 in India. The global chip shortage and hike in component prices have forced many OEMs to increase the prices of their phones in the country. VFM (value for money) phones today are not as aggressively priced as we are used to seeing in the past. Even Xiaomi is struggling to launch phones at disruptive prices. This suggests that the Jio Phone Next will not be able to arrive with a disrupting price unless Reliance is able to somehow reduce the profit margin to practically zero.

Jio Phone Next could launch with an “effective” sub-Rs 3,000 price

One way the Jio Phone Next can launch in India under Rs 3,000 is through the tried and tested “effective” pricing strategy. By bundling a Jio recharge plan with the phone, the company can effectively offer the device at a price point much lower than its actual cost. The telco has used this method for its previous Jio Phone models as well. Remember the first Jio Phone? The 4G feature phone that launched in 2017 came at an “effective price” of Rs 0 through a fully refundable Rs 1,500 deposit.

We’re not saying the same fully refundable deposit scheme will work for the Jio Phone Next, but the telco can offer the 4G smartphone with bundled Jio monthly recharge plans that will ‘effectively’ bring the price under Rs 3,000. For example, given the expected price of the device, the company could bundle the Jio Phone Next with a monthly recharge plan of Rs 155 (1GB/day for 28 days) for a period of 24 months. This is mere speculation at the moment, but a very plausible route that Jio could take.

In conclusion, it is difficult but possible for Jio to launch the Jio Phone Next under Rs 3,000. Launching the phone with a bundled plan seems like the best way to go. Jio will no doubt aim to bring the phone as affordably as possible if it wants to turn heads. We have already seen 4G smartphones launch at Rs 3,499 like the Lava Z40 in 2019 and Reliance’s own Lyf Flame 7S, so the Jio Phone Next at Rs 3,499 isn’t really unimaginable. But if it can launch the Jio Phone Next at Rs 2,999 or even Rs 2,499 effectively, the telco could shake up a stagnant entry-level market as we know it.

What do we know about Jio Phone Next?

Here’s a quick roundup of what we know about the Jio Phone Next, in case you’re the curious kind. The phone features an HD+ display, according to a listing on Google Play Console. Several listings suggest the phone is powered by the Snapdragon 215 entry-level chipset. The phone will likely come with 2GB RAM and 16GB or 32GB of internal storage.

Jio has confirmed the Jio Phone Next ships with Pragati OS, which is a new skin based on Android. Other features include a 13MP primary camera, 2,500mAh battery, voice assistant, read aloud, translate, camera with night mode, and Google Play Store access.

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