Technology never ceases to amaze people. If the public isn’t appalled by flashy gizmos and gadgets, then there’s probably some latent reality that only a few know about. While Reliance Jio might be enjoying the popularity of such gizmos all over India, it’s important to address some necessary truth about it.
More specifically, the average consumer must be wary of what the Jio plan signifies and what it means for the rest of the country.
1 What Reliance Promised To The Public
Among the several provisions made by the company, the ones that captured the public’s attention were:-
1. Jio’s 4G coverage extends to 8,000 cities and over 200,000 villages. The company promised to extend the coverage to 90 percent of India’s population by next year. It also claimed to offer the cheapest 4G LTE prices in the world.
2. Its smartphone brand Lyf is priced at Rs 2,999 and the portable Wi-Fi router is stocked at Rs 1,999. Mukesh Ambani called this a defining move to make sure that Indians aren’t left behind in the 4G era.
3. Reliance also drew crowds by giving away new customers unlimited free data. Not only that, customers are entitled to services including on-demand movie and music streaming, and live TV channels till Dec. 31, 2016. After the aforementioned date, the company plans on charging Rs 15,000 for a subscription.
4. ‘Free’ was the main buzzword for the entire length of the presentation and Prime Minister Narendra Modi too endorsed the Jio plan. Certain appreciation was directed towards the free voice calls and Wi-Fi benefits from all Reliance network areas.
5. Mukesh Ambani called the scheme a definite game changer in the Indian telecom market that would enable users to reap the benefits of abundant data and enriched schemes, no matter where they are in the country. Special emphasis was placed on college students and military sectors.
2 What The Promises Are Turning Out To Be
1. The scheme is currently going through some turbulent times as initial users posted their dissatisfaction on social media websites. A majority of such complaints include snail slow speeds and lack of SIM cards.
2. Here’s a useful little advice. Always read the fine print before jumping on the bandwagon. The video calls made on the network will be credited via the data-calling pack. The plans start from January 1, 2017.
3. As per the information on Jio’s official website, users must subscribe to any of the ten packs to make calls at zero cost. If no recharges are made, then users would be charged at 2 paise/sec for voice calls as per the base plan rate. This is again no different to what other operators charge these days.
4. If we take a look at the tariff plans submitted to TRAI, the scheme states that Rs 50/GB would apply for JioNet Wi-Fi service. But after users drain the data, they would have to pay 0.25p/10KB- Rs 250/GB for internet use after the initial data limit of the plan voucher. Users who do not recharge with the plan vouchers would be charged 0.5p/10KB.
5. If the free 4GB 4G LTE data is used up on a card, the extra data will be free but at a reduced speed of 128Kbps. Not the good news people were expecting.
6. The “Unlimited at Night” feature brought back some element of hope. But here’s the dealbreaker. Data that is used between 2am and 5am will not be charged. Using beyond this will put your regular data pack into action.
3 The Verdict
While there’s no denying that Reliance has some big hurdles to cross if it intends to keep customer relations thriving, its effects seem negative. Several users feel irked by the data plans and similarities with other brands, arguing that alternatives to Jio are better.
The reception has however been phenomenal. The same can’t be said for the company whose stocks saw a fall by 3% following the release. Rival groups are now forming what could be termed as a ‘telecom coalition’ to salvage the aftermath of Reliance Jio. Millions of calls are being dropped each day and the company seems to be dumping the blame on other telecom companies like Airtel.
While not exactly consumer friendly or new, many still see it as the tool to push India towards the future.