According to telco Jio, there are still 250 million Indian mobile users who still have ‘feature phones’ (not smartphones) with only 2G connectivity.

Its new attempt to do something about that is called ‘JioBharat‘ and involves a 4G-capable phone that costs just 999 rupees ($12.19) to buy.

The telco will then charge 123 rupees a month ($1.50) for unlimited voice calls and 14GB of data. Its plan is for other handset makers to also launch JioBharat phones (including one at launch, alongside its own handset.)

Why is Music Ally writing about this? Jio’s in-house music streaming service JioSaavn is part of the package. Presumably that’s the free tier of the service, which traditionally offers new users a free 30-day trial of its JioSaavn Pro subscription tier.

Jio will be hoping the new phone can reignite JioSaavn’s growth, while music rightsholders will be hoping this new funnel can also juice its conversion rate of paid subscribers.

In February, the boss of industry body IMI criticised the way Indian streaming services had focused on their free tiers, and predicted that the market will soon flip towards subscriptions.

“There are 550 million people paying for streaming across the world. Why should India be any different?” he said then.

Migrating 250 million people from 2G to 4G, with a music-streaming app on their phones, could be a step along the road to that.

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