Reliance Jio May Invade Entry-Level Phone Market


Reliance Industries may acquire United Telelinks or forge a contract-manufacturing deal. Jio Platforms, the telecom and technology arm of Reliance Industries, received funding from top global private equity and internet giants, including Facebook and Google, according to sources. With Jio attaining leadership in the telecom space, Jio Platforms — the holding company for Reliance Jio — now wants to even control/offer a bundled eco-system to existing and new subscribers to help them migrate to affordable 4G smartphones, upgrading millions of subscribers to the smartphone eco-system.

Reliance sold bundled devices even earlier, but the production of those was outsourced to various contract manufacturers, including Flex. The government’s PLI benefit scheme to boost smartphone manufacturing in India is almost finalised. A total of seven homegrown companies and five international players are in line to receive benefits under the programme. The local companies include two each from the Lava group (Lava and Sojo), Dixon Technologies (Dixon and Padget Electronics), apart from single applications by Bhagwati (Micromax), Optiemus Infra and United Telelinks. International players include top contract manufacturers of American electronics giant Apple (Foxconn, Hon Hai, Rising Star, Wistron and Pegatron), apart from Korean Samsung.

The entry of Reliance in the business with bundled mobile and data plans would put pressure on Chinese and local handset companies, especially those in the entry-level space.