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Airtel, Idea stocks crash, as Jio launches free 4G feature phone

Aiming to create another disruption in the telecom market, Reliance today unveiled its 4G feature phone that is effectively free of cost. The 4G feature phone called JioPhone will be available for a sale price of Rs 1,500, but it’s effectively free since Rs 1,500 will be collected as security deposit and the entire amount will be refunded after a term of three years. As soon as the news spread about Jio’s new free 4G feature phone, the stocks of its competitors started to slide. Bharti Airtel fell around 2.5 percent whereas Idea Cellular fell 2.95 percent on the BSE. Jio has already created a big disruption with its free voice and data plans, and now with this new 4G feature phone, it is likely to grab a larger market share.

The launch of the new 4G feature phone will help Reliance to target the nearly 500 million customers who still use 2G feature phones. The current 4G plans can only be used by people with 4G enabled smartphones, which start at around Rs 4,000. This is costly for many people who use feature phones. Earlier, there were many speculations about the price, with some saying that it would cost around Rs 500. However, Jio has broken all records by offering the 4G feature phone effectively free of cost. And even the plans are quite affordable at Rs 153, wherein customers would get free voice, free sms and free data. Reliance shares zoomed 3.7 at close of trading.

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