The bundled three year Rs 1500 refundable feature phone offer by Jio will create only a ‘short term’ hiccup when launched, feel at least two mobile handset makers Itel and Hitech.
“So far there is no impact on our sales. We think it will affect our market as a short term hiccup once the Jio feature phone is launched but it will not be anything severe,” leading feature phone company Itel Mobile senior vice-president Arijeet Talapatra told PTI.
“It will be only a short term threat. Had the phone been launched at Rs 500 as rumoured, the impact would have been more,” Hitech Mobiles managing director Mohammed Gyasuddin said. Feature phones by other handset makers similar to the yet-to-be-unveiled Jio handset would cost Rs 2000, a mobile company official said. Talapatra said, so far there is no impact on sales of feature phones in the market and Itel had sold 2.5 million phones last month.
Feature phone market still account for 70 per cent of the mobile phone users. “The current mass feature phones normally don’t stay in proper usable condition after three years. We are sure even other operators will match the offer of Jio,” a handset maker said. Gyasuddin said feature phones still remain Hitech’s volume churner and as a strategy the company is trying to bring more affordable feature phones below Rs 1000 to counter the new threat. So both Itel and Hitech don’t feel threatened from the Jio phone and consider it as a short term hiccup.
A Jio marketing team member said the terms and conditions for return of the proposed refundable feature phone is not yet known to them. Jio is marketing corporate plans bundled with the feature phone with three month free offer.