JioChat, the voice-cum-messaging app launched by the broadband arm of Reliance Industries, not only offers more features than similar apps like WhatsApp, but also reflects on where the group intends to do in the 4G telecom space, says a study.
"After limited 4G launch in Gujarat, Kolkata and Mumbai, Reliance Jio has launched a voice-messaging app similar to WhatsApp with some incremental features including content, entertainment, e-commerce," said Citi Research in a report "JioChat Equals WhatsApp Plus More."
"We keenly await trends on-user traction - WhatsApp already has a strong network effect," it said in the comparative analysis. "The app highlights Jio's intention to eventually become a single platform for users - voice, messaging, entertainment and e-commerce."
The Jio Chat description in Google Play Store says it connects for free across any mobile data connection or WiFi, "no matter where in the world you are". Features include voice, video, messaging, conferencing, doodles and emoticons, as also location-and status-sharing.
The Citi Research report said that the app offers 100 free SMSes per month, which would be useful and applicable in case either the sender or the recipient's data network at the time of sending the message is unavailable.
"This is unlike WhatsApp where messages sent through remain in the network in case of data issues and sent or received once data network is available," it said, adding while call quality was good, with no drops even with 3G, this was more a reflection on the network.
Out of 150 million smart phone owners in India, 80 million are on WhatsApp, said the study.
"So why launch now? We believe this should be seen more as soft launch to modify any aspect based on user feedback before the commercial LTE (4G services) launch, expected in in the fourth quarter of 2015," it said.
In the recently-concluded telecom spectrum auction, Reliance Jio acquired the rights in 13 key circles across India. With this, the company said it has airwaves in either 800 MHz or 1,800MHz bands, or both, in 20 out of a total of 22 circles in the country.
The company is setting up a pan-India 4G network to provide high-speed net connectivity, communication services and various other digital offerings in domains like education, healthcare, security, government-citizen interface and entertainment.