Reliance Jio a big flop? 4G speed of 6 MBPS unheard of
India’s richest man Mukesh Ambani’s re-entry into the telecom industry after the split with his brother Anil resulted in Reliance Infocomm, which he had desperately wanted to remain as a part of Reliance Industries, going to Reliance Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group.
Mukesh understood the potential of the telecom sector, which was on the verge of a major boom. So when he entered the fray earlier this year, he made sure everyone would sit up and take notice. Reliance Jio grabbed headlines and became the talk of the town, being termed as potentially the network to successfully connect every Indian to the internet.
Amid much fanfare and tariff wars, Reliance Jio gained initial traction, ruffling the feathers of the competition who were forced to slash prices to remain relevant. By offering free internet, free voice calls, free messages, it ensured customers stood in queues to get their hands on Jio SIMs much like Apple fans queue outside an Apple store before the first flagship iPhones are offered for sale.
But now as the dust begins to settle, Reliance Jio Infocomm Ltd has witnessed a major downturn. Early adopters have started complaining about connectivity and slow internet speeds. 4G is said to have speeds around 10 times more than 3G. However, in the recent past, Reliance Jio ha been criticised by users for being too slow for a 4G network. Even our reporter working in Maharashtra for a story faced issues as its network remains mostly unavailable in smaller towns and cities in the state.
Reliance Jio will be commercially fully launched only early next year hence it is to be seen whether there will be any improvement in the current situation. But if the present speeds are anything to go by, Reliance Jio will find it difficult to woo at least the urban, educated users who are the heaviest consumers of data. According to data from Ookla, Reliance Jio’s mean average speeds have been declining since its beta launch. In Delhi and Noida, Reliance Jio has put a cap on daily download limit to 4GB per user on the Welcome offer.
According to data by Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI), the average pan-India 4G download speed by Reliance Jio stands at 6.2Mbps, making it the slowest download speeds in the country among the top 5 telecom operators. This means it is now trailing well behind market leader Bharti Airtel Ltd after providing high speed 4G data across India right after its launch.
It remains to be seen what Reliance Jio will do to keep users on its network with falling 4G speeds. It’s possible it will look to extend its free services period till the time they can bring back the promised speeds to customers, although TRAI has ordered Reliance Jio to discontinue free services after 3 December, limiting its promotional welcome offer to 90 days.
Reliance’s loss is Airtel’s gain as it is able to hold on to its market share and remain the market leader that much longer. The other network providers like Idea and Vodafone have been offering special data plans and lucrative tariffs to keep their subscriber bases intact. This is the only way by which they have been able to counter Reliance Jio onslaught. This has put a dent in their revenue even though data consumption has increased across the country.