At the time of launch, Mukesh Ambani and industry experts together announced that the 4G speeds on Reliance Jio will be faster and much more reliable than that of its competitors. After the commercial launch in September 2016, the speeds started dropping for users, and many complained about inadequate infrastructure to support the growth.
Problems started cropping up when the demand surpassed supply, even though the company had targeted adding 1 million customers a day and there was a shortfall of sim cards. This started to put off a lot of potential customers, but nevertheless the demand did not fall.
Now as the number of subscribers grow, the service starts getting shared with more people at the same time, causing the speeds to fall. In fact, a lot of users in the larger areas in cities have complained of speeds as slow as 2G on a 4G network.
This brings us to our question – is Reliance Jio just all talk and no action? When a company as big as Reliance decides to launch a network operating service, should it not have done a thorough market assessment? Things also started looking fishy when the official commercial launch got delayed by about 4-5 months.
Ookla and TRAI’s findings
Ookla, an internet speed test platform, conducted speed trials on Jio and found that the speeds have drastically reduced from over 12Mbps, as opposed to the promised 50Mbps, to about 9Mbps. What is also annoying is that the call drops are very frequent and calls do not connect to other telcos regularly.
Some users have independently tested their network speeds and have found them to be sub-par with other competitors like Airtel and Vodafone. Even if Airtel, Vodafone and Idea Cellular do not offer very high speeds, they do not offer 3G speeds after promising 4G experience.
TRAI’s MySpeed app launched only a few months back, has also discovered that Jio speeds are extremely low and Reliance might be fooling its customers. A quick comparison shows that Airtel has the highest average 4G download speed at 11.4Mbps, Reliance is at second with 7.9Mbps. Reliance Jio has recorded an average speed of 6.2Mbps across the country.
The upload speeds aren’t any flattering, and this is when we are talking about just 16 million subscribers. Jio plans to have about 100 million plus subscribers by the year end, and once the welcome offer gets over the company will be able to retain less than 50% of them.
Ironically, some users will be seeing extremely high speeds and might be satisfied with the progress, but the MySpeed app also shows that two points in close proximity might have drastic differences in speeds and network coverage.
Is it worth getting a Jio Sim now?
Thanks to MySpeed app, you atleast know if the network service around your location is good or not. The sim may not worth getting if you see the Jio coverage is not good in your area.
However, if you want to utilize whatever you get free for the next 2 months, then just go for it. Sim comes to you for free, so it does not really cost you anything other than your time. You might be travelling everyday and maybe at times you will encounter excellent speeds. Even if not that, calls and texts are free and you’ll be lucky if your call gets connected. If not, video calling could be another option that you could explore.
Airtel, Vodafone and Idea Cellular have started rolling out some interesting offers that might be worth it. You should look at those and assess your situation. Getting a Jio sim is not as simple as it sounds, while these companies are trying to lure you into using their services.
Statement from Reliance Jio
“With reference to statistics published TRAI’s analytics website, we have performed an internal analysis of the same. Based on this analysis, we believe that the comparison of Jio speeds with other operators has an inherent bias against Jio data usage. The nature of this skew is explained below.
As you may be aware, under the Jio Welcome Offer, there is a daily fair usage policy (FUP) limit of 4GB data consumption per user. This limit has been setup with the express intention of preventing heavy data users from degrading the experience of other users.
Before this FUP limit is reached, Jio customers enjoy unmatched 4G LTE speeds on the Jio network. However, after the FUP usage limit is reached, speeds are reduced to 256kbps. Full 4G LTE speeds are once again restored once the next 24-hour period begins.
Historically, we have observed that a disproportionate number of speed tests are performed once the FUP comes into effect. This is so since most users don’t consider performing the test until they observe a deterioration of speed. Such users also tend to perform multiple tests until full speeds are restored.
Given that data usage under Jio Welcome Offer is completely free, a higher proportion of Jio users run up against the FUP limit. In comparison, not all non-Jio users have FUP based plans (rather their usage is completely stopped, and they are entirely prevented from performing the speed test), and even those who have FUP based plans face this situation only once a month. Further, such customers tend to recharge quickly and restore full speeds.
This difference in the offer structures, and associated customer behaviors, result in a large proportion of the speed tests being conducted on Jio network when the speeds are reduced via FUP to 256kbps. This has the effect of dragging the average far below the speeds experienced by Jio customers who are enjoying full 4G LTE speeds.
Having said that, we continuously measure the speeds experienced by Jio customers – adjusting for factors such as FUP, and are proactively working to improve service levels for all our customers.”"Reliance Jio Has the Slowest 4G Speed in India, Reports TRAI & Ookla; Jio Offers Explanation!",