In 2016, Reliance unleashed a tidal wave of disruption when it launched Reliance Jio, setting off a bloodbath in India’s telecom space. In the years since, it has leveraged Jio’s position as the largest telco to disrupt other businesses.

JioMart, its e-grocery business, already clocks clocks Times of India JioMart daily orders hit 5-lakh mark Read more  more than 500,000 orders a day. This puts it far ahead of its older rival, Bigbasket, which reportedly serviced 283,000 orders a day in 2020. Ajio, Reliance’s online apparel business, is also emerging emerging The Economic Times Ambani's Ajio emerging as a rival to Walmart's Myntra Read more  as a strong rival to Walmart-owned Myntra, the country’s biggest online fashion portal.

Now, five years on from Jio’s launch, the stage is set for Reliance’s latest disruption. One that not many saw coming. A full frontal assault on the crown jewel of e-commerce giants Amazon and Flipkart—the smartphones and electronics category.

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you already know about the imminent launch of the JioPhone Next. Developed in collaboration with US search giant Google, Reliance announced at its Annual General Meeting that the affordable smartphone would launch in September 2021.

The third iteration in Reliance’s JioPhone series, it is a game-changer in more ways than one. Unlike its predecessor, the Jiophone 2, which was merely a 4G-capable feature phone, the JioPhone Next is capable of supporting the entire suite of mobile applications from both Google and Jio. 

The plans for the JioPhone Next are ambitious. While Jio managed to sell 100 million units of the JioPhone 2, this time, it’s aiming to sell 300 million devices. This, despite practically giving the JioPhone 2 away for free—users simply had to put down a refundable deposit.

The new JioPhone is Jio’s latest push to onboard India’s ~300 million 2G users ~300 million 2G users The Ken Reliance Jio wants India’s 2G users. So it’s killing 2G Read more , a segment it cannot access since it is the only telecom operator with an exclusively 4G network. Consequently, the new device will increase revenue for the telecom business while also monetising Jio’s app ecosystem, which it built both in-house and through acquisitions. The likes of Ajio and JioMart are also likely to see inflection points as more users graduate to 4G telecom services.

AUTHOR

Pranav Balakrishnan

Pranav writes about the business of moving people and things around, i.e, mobility and e-commerce. Over the past two years, he has written about Ola, Tesla, Flipkart, Amazon, and the increasing role played by Reliance Industries in the Indian technology story. Pranav joined The Ken from Asian College of Journalism, Chennai, specialising in business journalism.

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