August 2017

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Q: Reliance Jio has announced that from September they will offer an ordinary phone which will also provide Cable TV.

The phone will be given to users for a deposit of ₹ 1,500 and a monthly fee of ₹ 153 for 36 months. Besides Cable TV, this phone will provide unlimited free calls, free SMS and internet connection.

Will this will completely destroy the Cable TV and internet business? Your thoughts please?

V. K. Naik, by E-Mail.

ANS: We have received several such queries from cable network owners who have been very concerned about this offer from Reliance Jio. The phone will certainly Not destroy the Indian cable TV or broadband distribution business. Let us look at the phone, its features and price of service in detail.

1. The phone offered is a simple feature phone as shown in the picture. It is not a smart phone. The screen on the phone is tiny (2.4 inches size). Such a small screen is useless for watching a TV picture.

2. The phone does not provide Cable TV.

3. The phone provides an audio and video output which can be connected to any old (CRT) or new (Flat screen TV set). The phone receives its TV content from Jio TV and will transfer it to the TV screen via the audio/ video cable. The phone needs to be physically placed close to the TV set when watching TV content. Hence if a family uses this phone to watch TV, the owner of the phone cannot leave the house with the phone.


The TV picture quality that this phone will provide remains to be seen, but will probably be poor on a medium sized TV screen.

Currently, Jio TV delivers TV content to smart phones which usually have a screen not larger than 5.5 inches. The quality of the picture is good on a 5.5 inch screen but if it was viewed on a larger TV screen viz: 20 to 40 inches, the picture quality will not be as clear or enjoyable to view.

Cable and DTH consumers now receive very high quality Digital TV content and the phone is most unlikely to be able to deliver similar picture quality.

Picture Quality Will Probably Be Much Worse Than CATV or DTH

4. The data offered on the Jio feature phone @ ₹ 153 per month will only be 0.5 GB per day. This will provide not more than 2 hours of SDTV streaming per day. The consumer has to pay ₹ 309 per month for 1 GB data, which will support 3 to 4 hours of TV viewing per day. Ofcourse, this duration of TV viewing will not leave any data for internet usage!

₹ 153 / Month Provides Data For 2 Hrs Basic Quality TV Per Day


the phone is offered against a deposit of ₹ 1,500, which is refundable after 36 months, if the subscriber pays ₹ 153 per month for all 36 months. If he skips paying the subscription in any month, the amount not received will be deducted from the ₹ 1,500 deposit.

Jio TV is currently bundled free with all Jio phones, as an introductory offer. Months later, JIO will certainly charge for Jio TV.

If Jio TV continues to provide pay channels free for many months, and if this affects Pay Channel revenues, Pay TV broadcasters will withdraw their channels from Jio TV.

JIO TV Is Free Only For A Few Months.


I believe that the market is unnecessarily concerned about a new product introduced in the market with high decibel marketing. The Jio phone is an attempt by Jio to address existing low end (feature phones) users. Their current feature phones do not receive 4G signals and hence they cannot subscribe to Jio. The Jio feature phone will permit new, low cost subscribers for Jio. It ius not intended to compete with Cable TV, DTH or broadband.

The TV streaming facility is only a small additional feature and certainly not a replacement to good quality Cable TV or DTH which provides unlimited hours of TV viewing for about the same price (₹ 150 to ₹ 300) per month.

Dish Doctor
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