Tuesday, 2 May 2017

4G LTE enabled feature phone starting at Rs. 1,500 coming soon


In the last six months, India has shifted from 3G to 4G devices in a rapid rate, thanks to the entry of Relaince Jio, which contributes significantly to this upgrade. A recent report from Counterpoint suggested that 96 percent of smartphone sold in India in the first quarter of this year were 4G enabled. This is mainly due to the availability of affordable 4G smartphones in the market for as low as Rs. 2,999. 

That said, recent reports have suggested that device makers are planning to launch 4G enabled feature phones, at even more affordable price. One such company is chipset maker Spreadtrum.

According to Economic Times, Spreadtrum is working on technologies, which will lower the starting price of 4G feature phones to just Rs. 1,500. The chip maker is already demoing prototypes to its partner.

At present 4G VoLTE enabled feature phones start at around Rs. 3,000. So far, there is only such device in the market from Lava called 4G Connect M1 priced at Rs. 3,333, and Micromax is planning to launch a more affordable 4G feature phone called Bharat 1, which will reportedly cost 1,999. Reliance Jio is also expected to launch similar phone priced below Rs. 1,500.

Meanwhile, a separate report from Financial Express suggests that Reliance Jio is in talks withich China based contract manufacturers like Techchain, FortuneShip and Uniscope to source 4G VoLTE feature phones.

The news comes after, Qualcomm introduced it lightweight 205 Mobile platform to bring affordable 4G and VoLTE enabled feature phone to emerging countries like India, SouthEast Asia and Latin America.

Currently, feature phones have 55 percent of the market share in the country, though none of them have 4G support. According to IDC, the Indian handset market will see a jump in 4G feature phone sales after July this year, with the entry of new affordable 4G devices.

Feature phones based on the new 4G VoLTE enabled chipset are expected to launch in the country in June.

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