What's Next for the JioPhone?

Posted by Tom Barrasso on (updated on )

What’s next for the JioPhone, the best-selling KaiOS phone globally?

The JioPhone

JioPhone Next (LS1542QWN), JioPhone 2 (F300B), and JioPhone (F90M)
JioPhone Next (LS1542QWN), JioPhone 2 (F300B), and JioPhone (F90M)

Many Models. The JioPhone refers to one of nearly two dozen models.

Number One. The JioPhone once held the #1 spot for best selling feature phone globally.

JioPhone Lineup. The JioPhone, along with the more affordable ThreadX/Mocor-based Jio Bharat 4G, and more expensive Android-based JioPhone Next (Android Go rebranded as PragatiOS), form a lineup to move 250M+ 2G feature-phone subscribers up-market.

Below are the Maximum Retail Price (MRP) for each device without financing in rupees (Rs) and US Dollars (USD).

  • Jio Bharat 4G - Rs 999 (~$12 USD)
  • JioPhone – Rs 1,499 (~$18 USD)
  • JioPhone Prima 4G - Rs 2,599 (~$31 USD)
  • JioPhone 2 - Rs 2,999 (~$36 USD)
  • JioPhone Next – Rs 4,499 (~$55 USD)

In Perspective. More than 90% of Indians earn below Rs 25,000 (~$300) per month, with individuals in rural communities averaging Rs 12,000 - 14,000 (~$145-168). About 77% of the Indian population has a mobile phone. This pricing strategy is meant to capture many of Indians lower income earners, while still offering incremental utility (JioPay for UPI Payments) and entertainment (JioSaavn for music, JioCinema for movies) at relatively affordable prices.

Recurring Strategy. In neighboring Pakistan, telco Jazz and Mobile Device Manufacturing (MDM) Digit have partnered on a similar 4G lineup. Cheaper models like the Jazz Digit 4G Shine & Star run KaiOS, while more expensive models like the Energy & Elite run DigitOS, a fork of Android for candybar phones, and ship with the 9apps app store.


There are more than a dozen JioPhone models. All share the candybar format, and most launch JioPay with a long-press of the SoftLeft key. Models are typically either rounded (i.e. F10Q, F30C, F50Y, F90M, F41T, F61F, F81E, F211S, F221S, F271I) or more square (i.e. F120B, F220B, F250Y, LF2403, LF2403N, LF-2401, LF-2402, F101K).

JioPhone models can be further divided based on chipset. Older devices came with Spreadtrum (SPRD) chipsets, while newer units ship with Qualcomm (QCOM) processors. According to BananaHackers, models are broken down by chipsets as follows:

Qualcomm (Snapdragon 205): F30C - F90M - F120B - F50Y - F250Y - F220B - F10Q - LF2403 - LF2403N – F300B – F320B – F491H

Spreadtrum (SC9820): F101K - F61F - F81E - F41T - F211S - LF2401 - LF2402 - F221S - F271I

Why it matters? The chipset distinction becomes important when publishing an app on the JioStore, as different chipsets have different testing and QA requirements. All JioPhones are SIM-locked to Reliance Jio’s network, and all are protected against DevTools or root. Flashing via SPD/ EDL Tools is necessary to enable root or DevTools.

KaiOS 2.5. All JioPhones run KaiOS 2.5. Despite launching two years ago in 2021, KaiOS 3.0 is still not available in India and it’s unlikely to come to India anytime soon since KaiOS 3.0 does not support popular apps like WhatsApp.

JioPhone Models (F300B, F20A, F320B, F101K)
JioPhone Models (F300B, F20A, F320B, F101K)

JioPhone 2

Unlike the JioPhone, the JioPhone 2 has a QWERTY keyboard similar to BlackBerry phones. The screen is the same resolution as the JioPhone, 320x240, but in landscape orientation. There are two models of the JioPhone 2: F20A and F300B. The F20A is older and more square while the F300B is newer and more rounded.

Publishing an app on the JioStore for the JioPhone 2 similarly requires additional testing and QA to ensure your app is sized appropriately for the landscape orientation and mores with the QWERTY keyboard.

JioPhone Value

Although virtually indistinguishable from the numerous JioPhone models, the JioPhone Value (JPV) is the newest in the JioPhone lineup. The main distinction is that the JioPhone Value does not have WiFi. Otherwise, it looks and functions much the same as prior JioPhone models.

JioPhone Prima 4G

JioPhone Prima 4G
JioPhone Prima 4G

In October 2023, the JioPhone Prima 4G was released for Rs 3,999 but discounted to Rs 2,599. This positions it between the JioPhone 1 and JioPhone 2 in price. Internally, it’s nearly identical to all JioPhone 1 models and externally, it appears higher quality and with a refreshed design, but remains the same form factor, general T9 shape, and does not include any notable new features.

The JioPhone’s Resurgence

JioPhone Shipments)
JioPhone Shipments Statista

Rise and Fall. Shipments of the JioPhone dropped precipitously in early 2020 at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Shipments resumed, albeit in much smaller numbers, a year later.

Today, only one a few models of JioPhone are available new for purchase: the JioPhone Value (F320B), F491H, and Prima 4G. Shipments continue, albeit in much smaller numbers. Although it’s less feature rich, the Jio Bharat 4G could be viewed as “good enough” for most new-to-4G subscribers so the KaiOS-powered JioPhone is not likely to return as the dominant feature phone in India.

KaiOS Global Expansion

What’s Next? Africa. KaiOS has set its sights on the African continent hoping to replicate its success in India. This has been the plan of record since 2019 and continues to prove very challenging without a comparable partner like Reliance Jio in India.

Perhaps KaiOS will catch on with GenZ in developed markets, or shipments will pick up thanks for new partnerships in Sub-Saharan Africa. Either way, taking on the Android-Apple duopoly was never going to be easy and only time will tell if KaiOS’ strategy will pay off.

If you are new to KaiOS and want to purchase a device, check out the KaiOS buyer’s guide.