RIL to offer JioPhone for free, data to cost Rs 153

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RIL, which launched the successful Jio mobile phone network over a year back, has seen its turnover zoom from a modest Rs 70 crore in 1977 to Rs 3.3 lakh crore now, which represents a 4,700-time growth in revenue, the chairman told shareholders, who responded with thunderous applause to every statistic being rolled out.

The scrip of Dish TV India plunged 5.85 per cent, Sun TV Network went down by 2.65 per cent, Hathway Cable & Datacom fell 2.58 per cent, GTPL Hathway (2.28 per cent) and Den Networks (0.13 per cent) on BSE. But the announcement comes with its own set of surprises.

Mukesh Ambani, Chairman and Managing Director of Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL), on Friday announced the launch of "intelligent smartphone" which will be available for beta testing from August 15.

To protect against misuse of the free JioPhone offer, we plan to collect a fully refundable, one-time, security deposit of Rs 1,500 with every JioPhone.

The deposit will be refunded after 36 months on return of the phone.

The news will have also been carefully watched by South Korean tech giant Samsung and Chinese mobile phone maker Xiaomi who possess the lion's share of India's smartphone market.

India has overtaken the United States and China in mobile data usage, said Ambani on his telecom venture Jio. "It will also help Reliance create a larger customer base amid the ongoing data tariff war", he said.

Currently, there are no feature phones in the market, which support 4G services, including voice telephony.

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"JioPhone will make the 2G feature phone obsolete. However, we see the low priced sachet plans of Rs 24/54 increasing the affordability of phone services, and could prove to be disruptive, leading to other telco operators being forced to float similar plans", the report said.

Reliance Jio JioPhone will ship starting first week of September, and pre-orders begin August 24.

The pre-booking for the phone will start from August 24 and it will be given away on a first-come-first-served basis. Users will have to deposit an amount of Rs 1500 initially as a security deposit, which they will get back after a period of 3 months.

Talking about Jio services, Ambani said: "Jio, in next 12 months, will cover 99 per cent of our country's population".

"These offices will service our sales channel partners and over 10 lakh physical retail outlets that sell Jio services". "There will be a fair usage policy of half a gigabyte per day, to ensure that bandwidth is fairly apportioned for every user", said Ambani.

At present Jio has 125 million customers across the country.

"Before Jio's launch, India was 155th in the world in mobile broadband penetration. Majority have recharged on Jio's Rs 309 or higher plans", he added.

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