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After free data, Reliance now announces ‘free’ Smartphones

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NEW DELHI: Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance Industries, whose digital arm, Jio, had caused revolution in data connectivity when the company offered unlimited free data to its customers last year, has now announced it will provide free smartphones to its customers.

Speaking at the 40th AGM, the RIL chairman, Mukesh Ambani, said that JioPhone “made in India for Indian users” and will be available at an effective price of Rs 0.

He said, “JioPhone is effectively free for Jio users.. Jio will charge a refundable security deposit of Rs 1,500 for Jio Phone.”

Mukesh Ambani, Chairman, RIL said the customers would be required to pay a refundable security deposit of Rs 1,500 for the 4G-enabled feature phone handset to ensure there is no “misuse of the free phone” which will be 100 % refundable after three years.

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Voice calls, SMS, etc, will come free with an affordable monthly plan of Rs 153.

“At a plan Rs 153 a month, it is only 3 per cent of the existing price putting an end to unaffordable data for all Indians forever,” Ambani said.

He said that JioPhone would bring digital freedom to all Indians adding that pre-booking for Jio Phone will start from 24 August.

There was an emotional moment at the AGM when Ambani’s mother Kokilaben broke down public as her son paid tribute to her late husband Dhirubhai Ambani.

“I want to dedicate these 40 years of achievement and records to only one person, founder chairman Dhirubhai Ambani and I am grateful to my mother (Kokilaben).

Ambani said in just six months of Jio launch, data consumption in India went to 120 crore GB a month, from 20 crore GB.

India has overtaken the US and China in mobile data usage, said Ambani on his telecom venture Jio. Ambani said that Jio was committed to ending “digital disempowerment and unfairness” by providing affordable data and devices.

He said Rs 1,000 invested in Reliance shares in 1977 today are worth Rs 16,54,503, over 1,600 times more valuable.

(With PTI inputs)