onth ago India was all about Jio 4G. There were long queues outside Reliance Digital stores, you could hear people talking about Jio 4G speed and fawning over the free data and voice calls. A month later, long queues are still there with people hoping to get a SIM, many are still talking about Jio 4G data but sadly not quite cheerfully.
Ever since the Jio SIMs were made available to everyone on September 5, I have heard murmurs of slow internet, bad call qualities and, of course, unavailability of the SIMs in the first place.
Reliance, on its part, has blamed Airtel, Idea and others for whatever woes people are facing with the Jio 4G service. I have tried the Jio 4G SIM for last one month after receiving it as part of the Enterprise Plan two days before the official roll out in September. Here’s how the service has gone downhill in terms of speed, although at the same time the reliability of the connection and the scene with voice calls, which are free, has improved. So it’s kind of a mixed bag.
A 4G SIM that is (usually) worse than 3G
Although, the scene has improved somewhat, the Jio network is still extremely unstable. Even while sitting stationary I have seen the network bar go down to a dot and also hit the maximum for no visible reason.
Earlier, the speed was often around 20Mbps, especially in the beginning. It was mind-blowing, actually! Nothing that I had experienced earlier. I was getting this speed at my workplace in Noida.
After a few weeks the speed was somewhere around 6Mbps. Considering the increased traffic it was expected. This morning the speed was measured at less than 1Mbps using Jio’s own NetVelocity app. This speed test was also done at my workplace in Noida. Here’s a screenshot:
No more video streaming
On my first day with Jio I streamed YouTube videos at 1080P without buffering. Impressive for sure. Now videos buffer at 480P.
For some reason I am still getting decent download speed up to 2-3MBps, especially while downloading an app. The speed falls again if it’s any other media file like a song or a movie, or even a photo from WhatsApp.
The speed is definitely not irritating most of the times. It is almost as good as 3G, but then it should be marketed as 3G and not 4G.
You can (mostly) make free voice calls
Making a voice call using Reliance Jio SIM is a mixed experience. It entirely depends on the SIM when to put you through and when to leave you listening to the sweet nothings. Although it has become better. Earlier, the call would connect once after 10 attempts. Now, it mostly connects after 4-5 or tries. This is on average. In lean hours, like night or early morning, calls connect almost every time you dial a number.
As for the call quality, it is a mixed bag. When I receive a call from Rajasthan, from Jio to Aircel, it is always crystal clear. But when I receive a call, from Jio to Aircel, made from Noida sector 18 to Noida sector 16, it takes me back to the days of bad landline cables.
So basically it would be better to carry another SIM around if you want to stay connected to the world. You never know when you lose voice with Reliance Jio.
Using Reliance Jio can be disappointing at times, but as I said earlier it is almost as good as having a 3G connection. And, also that it is free. So free 3G is better than no 3G, right?
If you can’t decide whether you should keep using the Jio SIM after the free offer ends, don’t think too much. Two months is a long time. Things can improve, the way call situation has, or it can go further downhill. At the same time, by January, other operators may have the data and voice plans that are as attractive as the ones offered by Jio. For now all I can say is, hold on to your Jio free data and voice calls till then, see how it plays out and then decided in December last week.