At the Reliance AGM, Chairman Mukesh Ambani announced JioPhone was introduced as “India ka smartphone”, for an “effective price of Rs. 0” – but you have to pay a “fully refundable” Rs. 1,500 deposit, refunded after three years.
Although Reliance Jio launched in India in September, the company’s offering has been restricted to smartphone users as it is a 4G only network, and to make calls, a phone has to support the VoLTE technology, which is usually not found on basic phones. The company aims to change with the JioPhone, which comes with 4G VoLTE support. The JioPhone will include access to apps like JioCinema, JioTV, and JioMusic.
The phone will be available from August 15 – for testing, in beta, and for pre-booking from August 24. Users who pre-book will be able to buy the phone from September 1, on a first come first serve basis. It will come with a couple of different data packs. Users can either pay Rs. 153 per month, for which they will get free voice and SMS, and unlimited data, along with Jio apps, or they can pay Rs. 309 per month, to get all this, plus the support for mirroring your screen on a TV, via a cable that can even be plugged into CRT TVs. After three years, you can return the phone, and get a full refund on the deposit. Aside from that, the company will also have two sachet packs, at Rs. 24 for two days, or Rs. 54 per week, for users who don’t want to commit to Rs. 153 as an upfront payment.