Reliance Jio readying a budget 4G smartphone, says chipmaker Spreadtrum

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Reliance Jio readying a budget 4G smartphone, says chipmaker Spreadtrum

“Jio will reportedly soon be launching an affordable 4G-enabled smartphone”

Earlier this year, Reliance Jio created a ripple in India’s handset market by launching the nearly-free 4G LTE-enabled feature phone called the JioPhone (first impressions). After the phone’s launch, other telecom operators like Airtel, Vodafone and BSNL partnered with domestic manufacturers to launch their affordable 4G-enabled handsets. Now it appears that after the JioPhone feature phone, Reliance Jio is working on a budget 4G LTE and VoLTE (voice over LTE)-enabled smartphone.  

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According to a report by The Economic Times, Spreadtrum’s chairman Leo Li revealed to the publication that Reliance Jio is readying a low-cost 4G smartphone. The phone will be a budget offering featuring a 4-inch display. Li also said that Jio is also working on “lowest-possible-costing” 4G feature phones as well. Spreadtrum will be supplying 10 million chips for 4G feature phones by the end of the year to Jio.

For the uninitiated, some of the Reliance JioPhone units are powered by a 1.2GHz dual-core Spreadtrum 9820A. Spreadtrum competes with Qualcomm and MediaTek globally, and in India, the brand has a 55 percent share of the market, of which, smartphones contribute 25 percent. Now by providing chipsets to Jio for the telco’s budget 4G smartphone, Spreadtrum aims to increase its market share.

This news comes soon after a report suggested that Reliance Jio halted JioPhone production in favour of an affordable 4G Android smartphone. The report indicated that the Ambani-owned company was rethinking its strategy and was in talks with Google to launch an Android-powered smartphone. However, 91mobiles reached out to the company’s spokespersons, who denied that the JioPhone’s production had been stopped. The company, however, didn’t confirm whether it was working on an Android-based smartphone.

Reliance Jio is currently shipping the JioPhone to users who pre-booked the handset earlier. The brand is set to start the second wave of JioPhone bookings soon.

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