JioPhone, the feature phone that's effectively 'free' with a refundable Rs 1,500 deposit, will create only a 'short term' hiccup when it hits the market, feel at least two mobile handset makers — Itel Mobile and Hitech Mobiles.
"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-launch Jio handset would cost Rs 2,000, 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 accounts for 70 percent of the mobile phone users, he added.
"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 1,000 to counter the new threat.
A Jio marketing team member said the terms and conditions for the return of the proposed refundable feature phone are not yet known to them. Jio is marketing corporate plans bundled with the feature phone with three-month free offer.
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