A Rs 1500 4G feature phone seems somewhat difficult to pull off, but chipmaker Spreadtrum says that it is actually working on technologies that will make it a reality. Earlier we heard that Jio is planning to launch a feature phone that will support 4G connectivity. Micromax too is working on a phone called Bharat 1, which will support 4G. This phone is supposed to sell for Rs 1,999 while Jio’s phone is likely to be priced at Rs 1,500.
According to Spreadtrum, a company that makes mobile phone processors although it hasn’t much success, there are technologies that can make a cheap 4G phone viable. “We are working on a technology that makes a Rs 1,500 4G feature phone viable. We have already started concept promotions to our partners,” Spreadtrum country head Neeraj Sharma was quoted as saying by the Economic Times on Tuesday.
Although a feature phone seems like a strange product for a company like Jio, which is focussed on selling bandwidth and data to consumers, it has been often rumoured that Jio will launch a cheap 4G phone in a bid to bring more people to its network. A feature phone will also allow the company to offer calls only service, which the company cannot do with a regular feature because it uses VoLTE technology for calls. The other operators, meanwhile, can offer call services that work on regular phones.
It is also possible that Jio is eyeing the rural India and semi-urban centres with its 4G feature phone. In these parts of the country, consumers may not switch to 4G just to get better data speeds and more bandwidth. Most people outside India’s major cities still use phones for calls, and that is one area where Jio is relatively at a disadvantage compared to other telecom operators.
Jio is not the only company looking at 4G feature phone. Micromax too has one called Bharat 1, although that phone was supposed to be in the market by now but it seems there is some delay. At the same time, Lava also has a 4G feature phone in its product line-up. Launched around a month ago, the Lava Connect M1 has been touted as India’s first 4G feature phone.
According to Lava, this phone is perfect to “make crystal clear calls, stream live videos, listen to latest music and make payments online with 4G.” Although the Connect M1 is quite pricey at MRP of Rs 3,599.
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