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Chip-maker Unisoc banks on success of JioPhone

​​Unisoc is not concerned over their falling sales from 2G feature phones in India given that its revenue has been boosted by JioPhone, a feature phone that works on the 4G VoLTE standard.

, ET Bureau|
Nov 12, 2018, 08.41 AM IST
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Shanghai-based Unisoc is in talks with Micromax and Lava to help them make a comeback in the market, especially in the $100-price segment.
NEW DELHI: Chip-maker Unisoc, formerly known as Spreadtrum, is banking on the success of Reliance Retail’s JioPhone to drive revenue in India and is in talks with local handset vendors Micromax and Lava to make smartphones in the affordable $100-price category.

“Jio will play a big role and we are a part of their ecosystem; so, we will continue to focus on them. We have a good share with JioPhone… we are a part of JioPhone 2 as well,” Neeraj Sharma, Unisoc’s country head, told ET.

Unisoc, which has been a major chipset provider for feature phones, is not concerned over their falling sales from 2G feature phones in India given that its revenue has been boosted by JioPhone, a feature phone that works on the 4G VoLTE standard.

“Feature phone revenues are very less, but volumes are high. But JioPhone is as good as a smartphone. So, even if numbers for feature phones come down, as long as we have similar numbers to replace by JioPhone, I wouldn’t mind,” Sharma said. “The feature phone is going up for us if we include JioPhone.” Qualcomm is the other chipmaker that provides its 205 mobile platform for JioPhone and JioPhone 2, which work on the Reliance Jio Infocomm network.

Shanghai-based Unisoc is in talks with Micromax and Lava to help them make a comeback in the market, especially in the $100-price segment. “We are seeing how we can cooperate with them to help grow the market share,” Sharma said. He added that these Indian brands are realigning their product strategy and Unisoc aims to play a key role with its new chipset, Unisoc 9863.

“There will be new launches happening at very competitive prices. Several players are evaluating this. For India, mostly Indian vendors are evaluating the launch. Globally, Chinese players are involved,” he added. The company claimed that it had close to a 40% share in the overall handset market last year, driven by high feature phone volumes.

The executive said Unisoc chipsets powered 90% of the 5 million smartphones that Micromax, along with Reliance Jio, shipped for the Chhattisgarh government. Unisoc is targeting the Indian market for Internet of Things and smart TVs. In the IoT segment, it has identified areas such as asset and vehicle tracking and smart meters. Sharma said the company is evaluating the launch of its chipset for smart TVs in India. “We are currently not present in the smart TV space, but this is one area we want to focus on… the launch might happen next year second half,” Sharma said.
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