Update: Oct 17, 2015 –We have received an official confirmation from Reliance Jio, Corporate Communications that this is not a brand which was speculated to be launched by Jio, but is an initiative from Reliance Retail.
Earlier: Oct 16, 2015 – Along with announcing its Q2, 2016 financial results, RIL today also announced its new smartphone brand called ‘LYF’. Under this brand, the company will sell 4G-capable smartphones, which is expected to be available in the market from November — a month before the scheduled launch of its commercial 4G service.
The company says that LYF is ‘built on the premise of unmatched user experience will offer high performance handsets that deliver a true 4G experience comparable to the best in the world’. This announcement is in line with a report from earlier this year, which first revealed Reliance’s plans to sell its own-branded smartphones.
While details like specifications are still unknown, the smartphones under the LYF series will feature dual-SIM card slots, voice over LTE, voice over Wi-Fi, and HD voice and video calling capabilities. The smartphones under the LYF brand will be priced between Rs 4,000 and Rs 25,000, and will be sold across the country via multi-brand outlets, as well as Reliance Retail stores.
RIL though won’t be manufacturing smartphones, but instead will procure 4G-capable handsets manufactured in the country, and will sell them under LYF. For this, the company is said to be in talks with companies like Micromax, Lava, Karbonn, and has already signed a deal with Intex. As a part of this deal, Intex will manufacture one lakh handsets, of which around 20,000 will be delivered in the first batch.
As mentioned above, Reliance Jio is set to finally roll out its LTE services in India by the end of this year. The company holds a total of 751.1MHz spectrum across 800MHz, 1,800MHz and 2,300MHz bands. Towards the end of last month, it signed an agreement with Anil Ambani-led RCom to share spectrum in the 800 MHz band across seven telecom circles.
This makes RCom among the newest operators to enter the race to provide 4G services, joining the likes of Airtel, which is among the first movers with services in nearly 300 cities in India. Vodafone too is expected to enter the race with roll out scheduled for December. The competition though is all set to heat up once Reliance Jio rolls out its 4G services, with monthly plans believed to be priced around Rs 300-500 mark.
Taking advantage of the availability of 4G services, smartphone makers are increasingly launching 4G-capable smartphones. As we see a transition from 3G to 4G, the market is seeing a huge influx of cheap 4G-capable smartphones, with prices starting from as low as Rs 5,000.
As per a recent Strategy Analytics Survey report, at this current rate India is all set to surpass Japan as the third largest 4G market by 2016. This year more than 118 new smartphones were launched in India, and the year is far from over. By 2017, the number of new smartphone launches is expected to touch 178, and India is also in line to cross US to become the world’s second largest smartphone market.