Mukesh Ambani-led Reliance Jio is planning to start Jio phone assembly facility in Tirupati in next 12 months.
The company first started assembly operations in Chennai after its Chinese vendors failed to meet the target. Jio had received about 6 million devices, way below than expected, from the Chinese vendors.
Chennai unit is already operational, and the capacity is in tune to meet its requirement. The next plant in Tirupati is expected to come up in 12 months and within 6 months of its operation Jio Phones would be available for people, said a Mint report quoting a person close to the development.
Last Sunday, Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL) had signed an agreement with the Andhra Pradesh government, under which the company will invest Rs 15,000 crore in an electronics manufacturing plant on a 150-acre site near Tirupati to manufacture mobile phones and set-top boxes.
Jio has set a target to reach sales of 200 million phones by December 2018. In order to push sales of feature phone aggressively, the company is establishing Jio Centres and Jio Points, small offices in rural regions, and offering after-sales services and customer assistance.
There are over 1,000 Jio Centres in urban areas. The company is inching closer to having 7,000 Jio Points, out of which 3,500-4,000 are currently being used as a distribution chain for the Jio Phone, added the person.
Earlier on Feb 21, Mukesh Ambani had announced Rs 10K investment in Uttar Pradesh. His company will make available over two crore JioPhones in UP within the next two months on a priority basis. Ambani said he wants the youths of the state to be smart using Jio Phone, which is available for a nominal deposit of Rs 1500.
Jio feature phone, which is being offered for free with its initial paid amount to be fully refunded after three years, in the quarter to December by shipments claimed to have a 27 per cent share of the segment of the market, said ET in its report quoting Counterpoint Research.
Samsung is at number two position with 17 per cent share, followed by Micromax and Nokia, the report added. The feature phone market size also witnessed expansion by 43 per cent year on year to 5 crore, higher than the usual 3-3.5 crore shipped in a month.
Earlier this month, Reliance Jio made Facebook available on Jio Phone. WhatsApp will take some time as you need time to redevelop and optimize the app; it to fit into the small memory of a feature phone.
Jio Phone is sold through Reliance Retail, the consumer business arm of Reliance Industries. Meanwhile, it does not have plans for a full-fledged TV campaign for Jio Phone but is targeting advertisements in regional print media, radio and through local fairs.
The recent development has set the competition in motion in the space. Incumbent players have already been witnessing down in revenue and profitability are coming up with new alliances to gain the sliding market share.
Airtel, Vodafone, and Idea are in talks with phone makers to make 4G smartphones available at mere Rs 500 to compete against Jiophone. It is slated to offer users with attractive bundled voice plans for Rs 60-70 per month against Jio Rs 49 plan.
On Tuesday, Airtel forged a partnership with Google to bring low-cost smartphones powered by Android Oreo (Go edition) to India by March. Android Oreo (Go edition) is a configuration of the Android operating system optimized for devices with 1GB of RAM or less.