2G featurephone makers are in a fix after Reliance Jio surpassed sales of 4G feature phones and pushed the need to adapt to 4G
According to a CyberMedia Research (CMR) report, the 2G phones are dropping at a fast rate due to rising preference for RelianceJio’s 4G phones. It showed that the Jio 4G phones’ sales increased to around 27 per cent as against a 30 per cent drop in the sales of 2G phones in the January-June period. It has further projected a 25 per cent drop by June 2019. Jio 4G feature phones have secured the top selling ones within the price range of Rs. 1500, thereby attracting users.
Capital markets and investments group, CLSA has estimated Jio users to hit the 462 million mark by 2021 and that 40 per cent of these users will be Jio phone users.
Stock or vanilla Android makers have embarked on their transition period to upgrade their 2G handsets to 4G ones as smartphone users are increasingly inclined towards devices and networks that offer high-speed internet services. The demand for better and faster data and content delivery has gone up, compelling telecoms to review their business plans.
Brands like Nokia, Micromax, Karbonn, Lava have all been brainstorming on their production plans. While Nokia has already forayed into the 4G feature phones segment, the other labels are yet to come up with their strategy to be in the game. Vikas Jain, Co-founder, Micromax believes that the makers could shift to 4G feature and smartphones if additional requirements were supported by network carriers.
Handset makers, reportedly, have cited the reason of huge manufacturing cost behind their reluctance to shift to 4G ones. This will, however, be possible through partnerships with telecom operators. It has also been reported that Micromax is planning to join Jio or other potential makers to co-produce its 4G feature phones.
Prabhu Ram, head of industry intelligence group (IIG), CyberMedia Research (CMR) has opined that partnering with telecom service providers who can offer the required support will help handset makers match up to Jio device’s price range.