Reliance Jio Feature Phone Beats Samsung For Top Position

JioPhone has become the No 1 feature phone brand in the quarter to December by shipments, overthrowing market leader Samsung in the segment for the first time, on the back of massive volumes it shipped in the closing months of 2017, said Counterpoint Research.

According to data available, Reliance Retail's JioPhone — the first feature phone to support 4G Voice over LTE (VoLTE) technology, which is being offered for effectively free with its initial payment amount to be fully refunded after 3 years — had a 27% share of the segment of the market which comprises of devices typically under Rs 2,000.

Samsung followed with a 17% share, trailed by Micromax at No 3, ahead of China's Itel and Nokia, the Hong Kong-based research firm said.The High volumes of JioPhone also expanded the feature phone market size by 43% on-year to 50 million in the quarter. Overall feature phone shipments increased by 51% in the year and a massive 32% sequentially, when compared to the 10-12% and 6-7% respectively.

Tarun Pathak, associate director at Counterpoint said, "JioPhone brought in huge volumes in the quarter, due to which it was able to surpass Samsung, which typically leads this segment,"

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This is not entirely surprising given the value of money proposition offered by Jio’s featurephone. Unlike most other feature phones which often lack WIFI or even 3G, Reliance JioPhone is the world’s first 4G-Volte enabled feature phone and comes with many features which are often found only on smartphones.

Reliance Jio has recently said that it would look at a strong ramp up and relaunch of the JioPhone from next month, after having resolved supply issues of battery and chipsets that had constrained shipments initially. It had sold over 6 million handsets in the first phase since the start of bookings late August. Bookings were discontinued soon after and resumed in November.

The most important reason for JioPhone’s success, however, could be attributed to its price. More attractive, Jio has further increased daily data allowance for Rs 153 a month plan, including Rs 99 as Prime membership for a year, associated with JioPhone to 1.5 GB from 1 GB, starting January 26. The buyers though can choose, provided the yearly recharge is a minimum Rs 1,500 to be eligible for the refund.