Everyone is excited about Reliance Jio’s 4G launch in India. And why shouldn’t one be? The company has showered the public with a number of freebies and massively discounted data plans, which weren’t available from other telecom operators so far. All domestic voice calls are free for life and data prices start at Rs 50 for 1GB among other lucrative offers. Not that other telecom operators weren’t offering low-cost data or voice packs (under some schemes or plans), Reliance Jio has edged out the competition with upfront free plans and affordable data plans. For subscribers, Reliance Jio looks to be the flavor of the month, and with its four-month free ‘Welcome Offer’, the frenzy is unlikely to fade away any time sooner.
Reliance Jio will start selling its SIM cards from September 5. And you most probably might be planning to switch. If yes, you should hold your horses for a while, and perhaps using Jio SIM as your primary number may not be a good idea for now. Here’s why you should not start using Reliance Jio as your only connection or primary number for now and use it a secondary connection first.
As mentioned by Mukesh Ambani at RIL’s Annual General Meeting, the company is still working to resolve the issue of interconnect with other operators. This issue has already marred Reliance Jio’s voice calling service with a huge number of users complaining about frequent call drops and inconsistent call quality. This is mainly happening when a subscriber from other network is calling on a Jio number or vice versa. So even if you have free voice calls, perhaps you may not be able to use it seamlessly for now. If you were keen on using the free voice services of Jio, you might want wait it out till Jio works with other cellular operators to fix this major problem.
Yes, Reliance Jio’s internet speeds are ultra fast. But what about the coverage? And, we are talking about a pan-India seamless coverage. Will it be better than what other telecom operators are providing? We haven’t seen that. Though some of users have commended the coverage quality. Do remember the feedback so far are based on users part of Reliance Jio’s preview offer, which was a way to test the network. And, now it is extending the same offer with a Welcome Offer with similar set of services, which is inclusive of free voice calls, data and Jio suite of apps. It is worth noting that Ambani did also point that the Welcome Offer is also aimed at collecting feedback from its users about the service. Reliance is perhaps looking at these next four months as another testing phase. With more millions coming onboard, what will be the network quality? You may want to wait to hear from those who have enrolled Jio’s commercial service and then make a decision. ALSO READ: How Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance Jio is cashing in on India’s dual-SIM market with ‘data-giri’
One of the reasons why users weren’t happy with the 4G services provided by the likes of Airtel and Vodafone is the indoor coverage. Airtel has been offering 4G services based on 2,300Mhz band, which is known for weaker signal strength and most importantly poor indoor coverage. Airtel is still in process of deploying a better 1,800Mhz band, and use a combined carrier aggregation method, but that’s still in infancy. Reliance Jio on other hand is going to offer 4G LTE services in both TD-LTE(2300MHz) and FD-LTE(1800MHz) frequency bands. It is also integrating Reliance Communications CDMA network of 800 MHz network, which is also considered good for 4G. Theoretically, Reliance Jio’s indoor coverage should be better than others, but perhaps you should start using the Jio connection initially to test the network quality. Considering the data is free for four months, it will give you enough idea about the indoor coverage.
During the preview offer, Reliance Jio users were reporting about data speeds over 50Mbps, which is very high than what other telecom operators are offering. Considering that the number of preview offer users is going to be just fraction of users on mass scale, it remains to be seen what would be the average 4G data speed including downloading and uploading. According to reports, maximum data speed for download upon commercial roll out is 14Mbps, and 6.90Mbps for uploads. In comparison, Airtel’s 4G speed on a good day hovers around 10Mbps – 13Mbps (for downloads). But if you remember, Airtel’s 4G speeds were pretty good in initial days, but got slower with more users coming onboard. Will that happen with Reliance Jio too? Reliance Jio has made tall claims about its sturdy infrastructure and backhaul to ensure this, but you should wait it out to see how it pans out in the near future.
I believe an average product with brilliant customer service or after sales support is a much better deal than a brilliant product but with a shoddy customer service. Right now, Reliance Jio is going to witness a massive influx of users on its network, and its customer service is going to be loaded with massive number of queries. Also, it’s a new product altogether, and you don’t know how the customer service is going to be.
As said earlier, Reliance Jio is going after the masses with disruptive price points and attractive offers. The Welcome Offer with free services is a great way to start and try Jio’s services. I believe everyone should go for it. But committing to it as your primary number isn’t something I’d recommend just yet.