Feature phones haven’t lost their way in the long journey of evolution of mobile phones. With 23% of the total handset shipments in Q3 2018 contributed by feature phone industry, it remains a sizeable market in India. Smart phone customers now understand the reliability of feature phones owing to the bundle of utilities they offer. 2019 will see the consolidation between smart and feature phones with the increased penetration of 4G services in feature phones. It would be safe to say that ‘Smart Feature Phones’ are the future.
Yogesh Bhatia, MD for Detel thinks that with its simplicity and convenience of use, long running battery, ease of repair, reasonable data plans and overall affordability to the price-sensitive masses, there are more reasons that make feature phones significant even today. These phones are deep diving into technological changes and are open for innovations. Here are the key trends that Bhatia believes will change the Feature Phone market in India:
Inclusive feature phones: In the past year, feature phones have gained attention amongst professionals for its sustainable battery and have also attracted older population for its user-friendly features like the popular ‘Talking feature’. Being able to use one’s own voice instead of using keys is getting good heed from the customers. 2019 can expect more user-friendly features to accommodate larger customers and hence, a rise in feature phone industry in India.
Increased adoption of mobile payments: This year, we will see more feature phones adapting mobile payment mechanism which will make it convenient for people to pay bills even at remote places or at places with less internet access. This will enhance the growth and make importance of feature phones even more visible.
Increase in 4G devices: With 5G hitting India’s handset market, the customers can expect more feature phones with 4G services. This move will drive the growth of the industry. As a result, we can predict that more number of smart phone applications can enter feature phones market as well.
In the era of revolution in feature phones, the transformation is at its pace. We can expect bright future of the industry as there is a favorable reception of feature phones in Indian markets. We are observing a spark that is prompting the growth of feature phone industry.