JioPhone might get a version of WhatsApp, claims report

James Marshall
August 4, 2017

In addition, there is provision for NFC support for digital payments, which will be rolled out to users via OTA software upgrade.The phone does not have WhatsApp support at the moment, glimpses of a Web browser, Facebook, and PM Modi's Mann Ki Baat broadcast during the unveiling at the Reliance AGM has been captured by the reporters.

JP Morgan believes that the incumbents would counter JioPhone by tying up with original equipment manufacturers to bring to the market their versions of the VoLTE feature phones which it said would be more likely once they have a threshold VoLTE (Voice over LTE) network up and running.

JioPhone will have a version of WhatsApp for its users, Zeebiz.com learnt. "A version (of Whatsapp) is needed that will work optimally on the JioPhone", the report quoted a source from Jio.

The JioPhone, announced last month by Mukesh Ambani at the Reliance Industries Limited Annual General Meeting.

The report from Factor Daily suggests that talks between Reliance Jio and WhatsApp are "preliminary".

JioPhone is being offered for free, but to avoid any misuse of this, the company is taking Rs. 1,500 as a security deposit, which will be refunded after three years. We already have a relationship with Facebook.There are technical challenges. The handset runs on KaiOS, a forked version of the Firefox operating system.

For Jio Phone, the company has launched the new Rs. 153 plan, which provides unlimited data (high-speed 4G data capped at 500MB per day), free calls and SMSes, and access to Jio apps.

Smartphone penetration for Airtel and Idea have crossed 40% of their subscriber base even as a significant part of them are not broadband (3G/4G) users yet. With new feature phones making a comeback in the Indian market with 4G VoLTE, it will be interesting to see brands develop lite or toned down versions for such phones.

The apps that will be available with the phone are Jio apps like - JioMusic and JioCinema that have been pre-loaded on it, the company said.

"We are targeting to have five million Jiophones available every week", Ambani said.

JioPhone is many things, but it is not a smart phone.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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