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How JioPhone’s target audience sees the 4G feature phone

LiveMint logoLiveMint 23-07-2017 Livemint

The JioPhone’s launch next month threatens to disrupt the communications and entertainment market with an “effectively free” feature phone with video and some data capabilities. Mint profiles some of India’s 500 million feature phone users and their usage behaviour. JioPhone could well become the centre of their lives

Chhabi Roy Choudhury

Chhabi Roy Choudhury is planning to buy the recently announced 4G feature phone by Reliance Industries Ltd as the price is “too attractive” and she is keen on learning new phone features in order to effectively use the internet as well. Photo: Indranil Bhoumik/Mint

Age: 70 years

Occupation: Homemaker

Annual income: Nil

Education: Graduate

Phone usage: Mostly calls

TV consumption (habits): News, cookery shows, travel shows, history, wildlife, films and daily soaps

Other forms of entertainment: Cooking, music, reading books and travelling with family

Shopping (e-commerce): She doesn’t shop online

Housewife Chhabi Roy Choudhury is a cooking enthusiast who enjoys watching cookery shows and shares her recipes with friends and relatives.

In the past, she had loyal customers for her homemade jams and sauces, a small home-based business she started years ago but gave up as she became older.

She owns a feature phone for the past five-to-six years, even though she still depends on her BSNL landline phone to make most of her calls.

She neither texts nor uses the internet on her mobile phone.

However, Roy Choudhury is planning to buy the recently announced 4G feature phone by Reliance Industries Ltd as the price is “too attractive” and she is keen on learning new phone features in order to effectively use the internet as well. —Soumonty Kanungo/Kolkata

Meena Rao

Meena Rao aspires to support her family financially and teach her younger siblings the wonders of technology she witnesses in Mumbai. Photo: Aniruddha Chowdhury/Mint

Age: 18

Occupation: Domestic help

Education: Class XII

Annual income: Rs96,000

Phone habits: Messages, calls, music, clicking photos and games

TV consumption: Daily soaps, comedy shows, reality shows

Other entertainment: Visiting public recreation spots almost every evening, watching movies and visiting the mall about twice a month

E-commerce shopping: Not directly

It is difficult to miss the gleam in Meena Rao’s eyes when she hears about Reliance Jio’s launch of a new smart feature phone.

An 18-year-old domestic worker from a village near Jaipur, Meena takes computer lessons and helps out at a local restaurant in her spare time.

She aspires to support her family financially and teach her younger siblings the wonders of technology she witnesses in Mumbai.

Meena knows of her older sister conveniently messaging and sharing pictures with her friends and relatives on WhatsApp, and ordering affordable apparel from “a marketplace on her phone”.

She is keen to experience this comfort and additional connectivity.

When asked about how she intends to navigate the new phone, Meena is unfazed.

“My older brothers and the people I work for have already offered to teach me,” she says.

“Besides, I have seen people on TV using them and it doesn’t seem so difficult. I couldn’t buy a smartphone till now because whatever funds we could earn and spare were used to support my family; my sister’s phone was a gift from her husband. Rs1,500 seems a small amount and if I will receive the money back at the end of three years as you say, I don’t see a problem. My elder brother in Rajasthan will be happy to show my family pictures of my Mumbai adventures.” —Arushi Kotecha/Mumbai

Meenakshi Vinodhni

Meenakshi Vinodhni does not own a smartphone because she doesn’t want her three-year-old to be exposed, and in the process, get addicted to it. Photo: Hemant Mishra/Mint

Age: 29

Occupation: Homemaker and private tutor

Education: PG in Applied Microbiology

Annual income: Rs1.2 lakh

Phone usage: Mostly just to make calls, send text messages and occasionally listen to the radio

TV consumption/entertainment: She hardly watches TV since she has a young child and doesn’t get too much spare time. She says she prefers reading books as it’s a helpful and necessary habit to have when one is in the teaching profession.

Shopping: While she does buy from online retail as well as physical stores, she says she prefers actual visits to the stores as the touch-and-feel factor is important to her

Meenakshi Vinodhni, a homemaker and a private tutor, prefers reading a book to watching television. Her aspiration is to do a PhD in microbiology and then get into research.

Vinodhni does not own a smartphone because she doesn’t want her three-year-old to be exposed, and in the process, get addicted to it.

Even if she does buy a new phone, she will not buy a smartphone she said, not until her child is much older. —Deepti Govind/Bengaluru

Manoj Kushwaha

For Manoj Kushwaha, a 24-year-old construction worker, smartphone and internet is nothing less than a luxury. Photo: Pradeep Gaur/Mint

Age: 24 years

Occupation: Construction worker/farmer

Annual income: Rs70,000- 80,000

Education: Class IX

Phone usage: For calls and music

TV consumption: One-to-two hours daily

Other entertainment: Watching movies

Shopping (e-commerce): Never

For Manoj Kushwaha, a 24-year-old construction worker, smartphone and internet is nothing less than a luxury. Kushwaha, whose family of four uses just one Nokia feature phone, says he doesn’t earn enough to afford a smartphone or internet for that matter. A die-hard movie fan, Kushwaha relies on single-screen theatres or, at times, just television. Kushwaha, who hails from a small village in Madhya Pradesh, works as a construction worker in New Delhi for three-to-four months and spends the rest of the year farming in his village. —Harveen Ahluwalia/New Delhi

Bhavna Solanki

Bhavna Solanki says that while she is not a trained singer, she hones her skills by listening to music on her phone and watching music videos online using a computer. Photo: Jaydip Bhatt/Mint

Age: 28

Occupation: Receptionist at Krishna Communications

Annual income: Under Rs1 lakh

Education: BA in Sanskrit, SV Arts College, Ahmedabad

Phone usage: Ten outgoing calls per day, 10 text messages per day, Bollywood music—five-to-six songs every day, FM radio

TV consumption: One hour in the morning and three hours in the evening

Other forms of entertainment: Theatre, cultural programmes, gaming on phone, Facebook on computer

Shopping (e-commerce): Myntra and Amazon

Bhavna Solanki, a receptionist at an Ahmedabad-based advertisement company, says even when the going gets tough, music and television keep her going.

Solanki, who has earphones slung around her neck, listens to old and new Hindi songs from her feature phone when not busy at work.

Solanki says that while she is not a trained singer, she hones her skills by listening to music on her phone and watching music videos online using a computer.

She also has a smartphone, which she uses only for online chatting.

Solanki is now looking to build a career in the advertising industry, where she has spent more than seven years. She even handles basic accounting work and supervises printing and delivery of advertising materials.

“At one point of time, I had thought of pursuing a career in journalism; but it was too late then. Also I realized that advertising is one field that will not close down,” she says. — Maulik Pathak/Ahmedabad

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