PhoneRadar reports that India’s Reliance Jio is working on a 4G LTE feature phone. You probably never thought you would ever hear of such a thing; did you? You know how difficult it is to find a 3G feature phone. But a 4G model? Heck. As shocking as it may sound, 4G feature phones are on the way.
So, this basic phone without a touchscreen, with an alphanumeric keypad and a torchlight will be able to access the internet at 4G broadband speeds. Users of the phone will be able to make VOIP calls, stream and download video/music, and watch live TV.
Large Chunks Of The World Still Use Feature Phones
Note that it is estimated that about 65 percent of mobile phone users in India still use feature phones, so this isn’t a crazy idea at all. Why should that large segment of the population have no access to fast internet because they do not own smartphones?
It can be argued that the arrival of 4G LTE feature phones would pose a challenge to smartphone adoption. But here is the point: people who cannot afford smartphones cannot afford smartphones anyway. They are better off with faster internet access on the devices that they can afford.
In Nigeria, another vibrant mobile market in the emerging world, is recording a decline in smartphone shipments and a huge rise in feature phone shipments. On the African continent, iTel became the largest mobile brand by shipping more feature phones than anyone else.
See the trend? Feature phones are not going away – and providing mobile broadband on them is a great move. Hopefully, we shall see other 4G feature phones show up across all emerging markets in a little while. Seeing as Nokia branded phones are back in the market, this is a segment of phones that they should get into. iTel too.
The Reliance Jio 4G feature phone is expected to cost just INR 1,299. That is approximately USD 20 or NGN 6,000. Not bad for 4G LTE internet access. Not bad at all.
Founder of MobilityArena. Yomi’s journey in mobile started in 2001. Besides obsessing over mobile phones, he also started creating WAP sites (early mobile-friendly websites created with WML). He began writing about phones in 2004 and has been at it since then. He has owned over 200 devices, from Symbian, Palm, PocketPC/Windows Mobile, BlackBerry/BB10, webOS, Windows Phone, Firefox, Ubuntu Touch, to Android, iOS, and KaiOS operating systems.