TM FORUM DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION WORLD SERIES: Reliance Industries president Kiran Thomas (pictured) revealed the company’s operator brand Jio planned to introduce a smartphone priced below $50 to the mass market within the next year, confirming earlier reports about such a move.

Thomas noted the starting price point for the device will be under INR5000 (approximately $70), and as the company brings it to scale, the price could reduce to below $50 in the next 12 months.

“A lot of work we are doing, as we speak, with the likes of Google, we believe we could even do it faster”, he added.

India as a leader in Industry 4.0
During the event, chairman of Reliance Industries Mukesh Ambani expressed confidence India would play a leading role in Industry 4.0 globally, driven by the convergence of technologies, such as cloud and edge computing, big data analytics, AI and machine learning, blockchain, AR, VR and IoT.

“Each of these solutions, once perfected in India and proven at India’s scale, will be well positioned to address similar needs in other parts of the world,” Ambani said.

He outlined ultra-high speed connectivity, affordable smart devices and transformational digital applications and services as the three fundamental requirements for India to participate in the digital revolution.

“We must invest in building next-generation technology assets, we must root out inefficiencies across the digital physical ecosystem, we must break silos and forge winning partnerships”, Ambani added.

Other operators have also set intentions to close the digital divide by introducing more affordable smartphones. At this year’s edition of GSMA Thrive Africa Orange CEO Stephane Richard unveiled the Sanza Touch device, priced at around $30.