With Jio phone as the new threat from Reliance Jio, Idea Cellular has come forward as the first telco to announce it will launch its own 4G mobile phone. The telecom operator also raised net neutrality concerns around the Jio Phone. One big difference between the Reliance handset and the Idea 4G phone will be the price: while the Jio handset is “essentially free” (after an upfront, refundable payment of Rs. 1,500), the Idea 4G mobile phone will not be subsidised at all. Idea Cellular Managing Director Himanshu Kapania said the company wants to price it around Rs. 2,500.
Kapania further said it remains to be seen as to how the proposed Jio Phone, which does not have features like a smartphone, serves those wanting to browse the Internet. “While clearly, it has an appeal for customers with voice usage, what appeal does it have for customers who have an Internet requirement, we will have to wait to see,” he said.
He said the Aditya Birla Group company, which is being merged with larger rival Vodafone, is working with handset makers to launch a phone that will be slightly more expensive than the Jio Phone but offer customers the freedom of choice. This new handset will give all the choices to a customer, including to choose the operator of his/ her choice, popular applications like Google, Facebook, or WhatsApp, Kapania stressed.
It can be noted that net neutrality is a very touchy subject when it comes to telecom services worldwide and had snowballed into a major controversy in the country last year. Later, social media giant Facebook had abandoned its…