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Reliance unveils "zero cost" 4G phone, aims to further disrupt Indian telecoms – Nasdaq

Reliance unveils "zero cost" 4G phone, aims to further disrupt Indian telecoms – Nasdaq


* Says phone will be "zero cost"
    * Users can get JioPhone from Aug 15 for refundable deposit
    * Voice calling to be free on JioPhone

 (Adds details of new device, shares of Reliance and rivals)
    By Promit MukherjeeMUMBAI, July 21 (Reuters) - India'sReliance Industries
 launched on Friday a keenly anticipated phone with
4G-enabled features that it said will be "zero cost", in a move
aimed at further disrupting the country's highly competitive
telecoms sector.
    Through the new phone, India's most valuable company is
attempting to woo tens of millions of low-income users to its
upstart telecoms venture Jio, which has already upended the
telecoms industry in the country by offering cut-rate prices on
its services.
    Buyers will be able to get the new device, named JioPhone,
for a one-time refundable security deposit of 1,500 rupees($23.32), Reliance chairman, billionaire Mukesh Ambani, said at
the petrochemicals-to-retail conglomerate's annual general
meeting (AGM).
    Voice calling will be free on the JioPhone, while unlimited
data packs will cost 153 rupees a month on the device, Ambani
    The phone will be available from August 15, India'sIndependence Day, on a trail basis.
    Reliance plans to make 5 million JioPhones available every
    About 65 percent, or 500 million, devices in the Indian
mobile phone ecosystem are so-called feature phones - that allow
basic calling and texting, according to brokerage CLSA. These
phones still outsell smartphones.
    Jio calls its new device "India's intelligent smartphone".
    The phone's launch was widely anticipated as Ambani, India's
richest man, uses the company's annual meeting to make key
launch announcements. Jio was launched at last year's AGM and
now has more than 125 million customers.
    Reliance shares traded 3.1 percent higher on Friday
afternoon, while shares of rivals Bharti Airtel  and
Idea Cellular  fell 2.9 percent and 6.2 percent,
 ($1 = 64.3200 Indian rupees)

 (Reporting by Promit Mukherjee; Writing by Sankalp Phartiyal;
Editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman)
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