“Due to the shortage of Jio Phone stocks, Reliance Jio’s first-ever 4G feature phone is being sold at a black market price of Rs 2,000”
Reliance Jio, one of the largest telcos in India, introduced the country’s first-ever 4G feature phone, dubbed the Jio Phone, back in 2017. The Jio Phone was met with overwhelming response from interested buyers and its stocks kept selling out almost instantaneously. Until now, the first-generation model has been in pretty high demand since its launch, a trend that continues to even today. A little while ago, 91mobiles learned that potential buyers of Jio Phone were facing issues as stocks have run out across various retail stores in most major cities of India. As it turns out, the problem still exists – despite rumours about Reliance increasing production – and has become widespread as Jio Phone units are now being sold offline at a 3x premium.
We reached out to various retail outlets in different cities in India and found out that the claims were true to an extent. Starting with Pune, we were informed that the stocks of JioPhone have been inadequate for the past three months. The retail stores, however, received some Jio Phone units last month, but that’s about it, and there has been no replenishment after that. To make things worse, we heard that Jio Phone units are now being sold at a black market price of Rs 2,000 in certain regions. The store owners who have some of the remaining stock of the Jio Phone are selling it for a higher price than the intended one.
While speaking to some retail owners in Gujarat, we were informed that the distributors are claiming that the company could soon stop selling the Jio Phone. Adding to this, the retailers located in Jharkhand and Bihar said the same thing. They, however, added that they have been informed about the company planning to introduce a new feature phone in the market – one that would be priced lower than the Jio Phone and designed to be used only for calling. This could very well be the Jio Phone Lite. In case you are unaware, 91mobiles reported exclusively about the Jio Phone Lite being tested, back in December 2019.
After receiving this intel, we decided to reach out to the company. A response to the email that we have sent out to the company is awaited. Without waiting any further, we spoke to a company executive (who prefers to stay anonymous), who confirmed that the company was indeed working on “something new” and the old model is likely to be replaced soon. In another turn of events, yet another Jio official spoke to us regarding the same. As per the second source, the production of Jio Phone has not stopped yet and there are numerous reasons behind the lack of stock lately – the recent Coronavirus outbreak being one. Notably, the components for the Jio Phone are imported from China and the outbreak has severely impacted production as of late. The source also hinted at a probability of the company launching a new feature phone. The last reason could be the constant fluctuation that is inevitable when it comes to the supply-chain management.
We will keep you posted, should we receive any more intel on the same.