Mukesh Ambani, Chairman and Managing Director of Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL), on Friday announced the launch of 'intelligent smartphone' which will be available for beta testing from August 15.
"The JioPhone will be available to all Indians for an effective price of Rs zero," Ambani told the company's 40th annual general meeting here. The phone will be available from Jio Infocomm, a fully-owned subsidiary of RIL.
"I had challenged our young engineers at Jio to find a disruptive Indian solution to this problem. What they came up with, stunned me. And it will stun you. Today, Jio is going to reinvent the conventional feature phone. With a revolutionary device, an unmatched Indian innovation, Made in India, by young Indians and for all Indians. Let me introduce India ka Intelligent SmartPhone -- Presenting Jio Phone," he added.
The much-awaited phone was launched by Ambani's son and daughter Akash and Isha Ambani. The phone will support 22 Indian languages. To protect against misuse, customers have to pay a fully refundable Rs 1,500 security deposit while taking a JioPhone.
"A JioPhone user can use the JioPhone for 36 months and can get a full refund of the security deposit of Rs 1,500 by returning the used JioPhone."
The pre-booking for the phone will start from August 24 and it will be given away on a first come first served basis. It will be available for all from September.
JioPhone, which is targetted at the 50 crore feature phone users in the country, will offer free voice calls and SMS to customers. For 4G data, customers need to pay Rs 153 per month.
Ambani said that in order to fit every pocket, those who cannot pay Rs 153, the company also introduced two sachets - a weekly plan for Rs 53 and a 2-day plan for Rs 23 -- that will provide similar value.
He said JioPhone can be connected to any TV, not just internet TV, to watch videos.
"Our young Jio engineers have created an innovation to help them -- a special and affordable "JioPhone TV cable" that connects JioPhone with any TV, not just a smart TV, so that all JioPhone users can enjoy viewing on the big screen of their existing television sets. Along with this accessory, users can opt for the existing Jio Dhan Dhan Dhan Rs 309 pack that would allow users to watch almost three-four hours of videos daily, of their choice, on a large screen."
The phone is pre-loaded with applications like Jio Cinema, Jio Music and others.
Talking about Jio services, Ambani said: "Jio in next 12 months will cover 99 per cent of our country's population."
He said the telecom sector in India took 25 yeras to build 2G network for customers, "Jio will do 4G in three years."
"To support the enhanced coverage, we are also expanding our physical distribution network across India. We will soon have over 10,000 Jio offices, across every city and tehsil town of India. These offices will service our sales channel partners and over 10 lakh physical retail outlets that sell Jio services. In addition, we will integrate with all major e-commerce platforms."
Jio has 125 million customers across the country. Since its launch, 10 months back, on an average Jio added seven customers per second every single day.
"This was the fastest adoption of any technology service, anywhere in the world. Faster than even Facebook, WhatsApp and Skype," Ambani added.
He said India has overtaken the US and China in mobile data usage.
"Before Jio's launch, India was 155th in the world in mobile broadband penetration. Now India is number 1 in mobile data consumption and well on its way to becoming number 1 in mobile broadband penetration, in the coming months."