Reliance’s JioPhone has a lot going for it thanks to a mix of a Rs 0 price tag and low-cost plans. However, there is one major area in which the feature phone falls short. It doesn’t support WhatsApp, a big drawback considering how popular the instant messaging application is in India.
Reliance Jio is apparently trying to rectify this by partnering up with WhatsApp. The FactorDaily reports that it’s currently in early talks with the latter in the hopes that the company will create a version of the app which will be compatible with the JioPhone.
One source claims discussions between officials from both sides are preliminary, while another states that talks are on. The second also spoke about the technical challenges such an endeavor would entail. The JioPhone is said to be running on KaiOS and WhatsApp will have to come up with a version specifically for that software.
This is a big ask especially considering the fact that WhatsApp is in the process of ditching less popular OS platforms. The main advantage for it to tie-up with Jio would be access to millions of consumers that it was previously unable to reach. It recently got a UPI license which will allow it to expand beyond chat to payment services.
WhatsApp is also preparing to launch a new WhatsApp for Business service to connect small and medium businesses to consumers. A partnership with Jio would probably help it achieve these goals. As for the telecom company, having WhatsApp on hand would help give it an edge over other feature phones.