According to a new report by brokerage firm CLSA, Reliance Jio's upcoming 4G feature phone will target 150 million users that contribute 15- 17 percent of sector revenues, thereby encouraging the company to offer its feature phone at Rs 500- 1000 per device.
It said that "Our channel checks indicate that a 4G feature phone launch by Jio is imminent and this phone though locked to the network will have VoLTE and suite of data applications. Despite being superior to currently available feature phones, there is a possibility that Jio could offer their feature phone at Rs 500-1,000."
The report further said that, in India features phones still outsell smartphones with total shipments at 136 million vs. smartphone shipments of 113 million in FY17.
However, the remaining 30 percent are likely to have an average revenue per user of Rs 150-180 and contribute around 15-17 percent to the industry's revenue, it said.
An additional 100 million subscribers would boost Reliance Jio's market share to around 19-20 percent, more than the third largest operator Idea Cellular Ltd.
The firm said that the contraction in industry revenues has been widely due to ARPU dilution at the top-end of the subscribers (15 percent of subscribers, 40 percent of revenues) which use 4G smartphones and MiFi devices. However, the launch and promotional offers of 4G feature phone by Jio could potentially lead to ARPU dilution among the mid-ARPU subscribers which form 21 percent of total subscribers and 22 percent of sector revenues.
The brokerage also expects the telecom sector's revenue to fall 7 percent year-on-year in FY18 led by "promotions and retaliatory tariffs", and a rebound is likely only in FY19 when Reliance Jio starts charging customers fully.