MD Ravinder Takkar said that the telco won’t look at subsidising a device to counter the new Reliance-Google smartphone, JioPhone Next, touted to be ültra-affordable”.

He said that beating down the price of a smartphone and heavily subsidizing it robs the choice away from a consumer of choosing a price point and specifications of a better quality device for a true 4G experience.

“The best option for us to make decent smartphones available to our customer base is that If the OEMs as well as NBFCs allow our customers to purchase these smartphones in a manner which is financially suitable for them, which is by installments,…they can also buy used phones through our programmes in installments,” Takkar said during Vi’s investor call on Friday.

He added that giving customers the choice and the ability to finance is the right way of doing it, rather than a single phone which has been pushed to the limit in terms of pricing.

“Then on top of that, potentially subsidising it. And so you have to put a lot of money on the table, to say I will pay to subsidise this much to where you get the phone, I think, in our view, is not providing the right choice to the customer,’ the MD said.

Takkar was answering a question on whether the affordable Jio-Google smartphone was a potential threat to Vi’s low value customer base. Mukesh Ambani-led

last week announced the launch of the most affordable JioPhone Next smartphone aimed at transitioning the 300 million 2G customer base to 4G.

“First of all, if you look at the Indian 4G smartphone market, only 2% of the smartphones that are sold in the market are less than Rs 5000. That means, if you want to have a good experience on 4G, if you want to use a smartphone for things that it is made for, which is taking pictures, sending pictures, doing ecommerce, doing other social media type of activities, you need a quality smartphone, which unfortunately today, in whatever cheapest pricing that you do is more than Rs 5000,” Takkar said.


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