Reliance Jio’s Lyf smartphones may become cheaper, here’s why

56685261Reliance Industries has asked its Chinese and Taiwanese original device manufacturers (ODMs) partners, including Foxconn, to make its Lyf branded 4G smartphones, smart set-top boxes, home automation and automobile telematics devices among others in India. “It is a contract clause for these partners to locally make/assemble their devices over a period of time. They [Reliance] have told everyone to do it,” a person familiar with the matter told ET. Foxconn, the world’s largest contract manufacturer, will start production of VoLTE handsets for Reliance Retail’s Lyf brand of 4G smartphones in India and the rest of the devices by other vendors will follow suit. “Foxconn has its own set of handsets that they will make for Reliance’s Lyf. Local sourcing will bring down costs of these devices,” the source added. However, he didn’t offer any specific time period for the production.
Affordable devices are critical for wider adoption of 4G mobile services offered by the group’s telecom company Reliance Jio Infocomm. Another person familiar with Foxconn’s plans said the volumes for the Lyf phones are still under discussions. “Foxconn can be the number one partner for Jio, as nobody can match the scale that it has,” the person added. Foxconn re-entered the world’s fastest growing smartphone market in 2015 with a mobile phone assembly plant in Sri City, Andhra Pradesh, which it expanded to five plants with a total capacity of about 12-13 million a year. The Taiwanese contract manufacturer is now in the process of setting up its next factory in India in Navi Mumbai, Maharashtra. ET had earlier reported its greenfield unit in Navi Mumbai with an an initial investment of $20-30 million will start by making mobile phones and move on to other products. Queries sent to Foxconn and Jio went unanswered. Reliance Industries through its retail arm, Reliance Retail, is currently working with a number of Chinese ODMs to procure 4G VoLTE smartphones and pocket routers, besides Foxconn. It is sourcing these products from Chinese ODMs like ZTE, CK Telecom, Wingtech, and Tinno Mobile. Plans beyond mobile services Having garnered 72 million 4G mobile users in India with the help of free data and voice services, Jio is now also planning to enter automobile telematics with the launch of a car connected device the telco has developed in house. The device will control a vehicle’s movement and alert owners about fuel and battery through a mobile app besides providing WiFi.
The first person quoted earlier said Jio is in advanced talks with automobile companies to launch the device to be offered at about Rs 2,000 in the coming months. The company is working on modalities on its sales model for existing cars. The hardware device will be initially imported from China, but the vendor has been asked to start making it in India after the initial roll-out. Jio is now scaling up its fibre to the home (FTTH) project for which it is running pilot in some cities including Delhi and Mumbai. The telco’s FTTH service will come bundled with JioMedia share device, smart set top box, routers and Power Line Communication (PLC) devices. With the help of these products, Jio will offer a slew of services such as HD TV and Video on Demand (VoD) and JioCloud offering under the home entertainment bouquet. It will also feature landline phone service. The telco’s FTTH service will also enable new services such as home automation that will allow users to convert basic electronic products into smart products with the installation of 6 to 7 Smart Plugs. These Smart Plugs will allow users to control the entire home with the help of smartphones/tablets. Jio is also planning to launch a complete suite for home surveillance, which will comprise smart camera, smart doorbell, smart lock and chime alarm. All of these products can be managed from user’s mobile devices. “With fibre to the home, the telco will focus on automating entire home from entertainment to home surveillance,” the source said.

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