Reliance Jio was the most market disrupting thing that was released in 2016. Since the day of it’s preview offer release, people of India were extremely exited and eager to use it. Back in the mid summer of 2016, when Reliance Jio launched their preview offer for some specific handset users, the general user feedback of their service was really promising. People used to get 40 – 50 Mbps of internet speed on their phone, which was unbelievable for most Indian consumers. So, eventually when Jio started to roll out their service for everyone from September 5, 2016 every smartphone users were started to stand in long queue just get their hand on the free Jio SIM.
Though there were a lot of promises made by the chairman of Reliance Industries Ltd., Mr. Mukesh Ambani, as time started to pass, the glory of Reliance Jio simply started to disappear. It was not because of the long queue people has to overcome to get their hands on the SIM card, but due to their bad service quality and extremely slow internet speed when more people actually started to use their service. At the beginning of the public launch, things were so bad that more than 90% of the calls that you try to make will fail and you will hear nothing but the “All lines are busy” message, over and over.
Just like any other corporate companies Jio also pointed their finger towards other incumbent operators, blaming them for not providing enough Point of Interconnection (POI) and those incumbent operators also blamed Jio for not having strong infrastructure to handle the loads. This war was fought between the operators in terms of providing adequate POI for almost a month. In the middle of this we the users thought that now things will get better with Jio.
The only reason Jio become so popular so quickly in Indian market is just because the offers/plans they were claiming to provide was simply too good to be true from our current Indian telecom market perspective. Just by paying for a reasonable plan we can get unlimited local + STD calls, no roaming charges, low data rates and many more things. Really, to good to be true.
Few months back when I published another article about Reliance Jio, I tweeted that I will port my phone number from my current provider to Reliance Jio as soon as their service gets a little stable. So, as an educated consumer I keep checking online news, offline newspaper, twitter to see what kind of service other people are experiencing before I shift my number from my current provider (Vodafone) to Reliance Jio. After months of reasearch at the middle of November 2016 I started to see that the complaints regarding Reliance Jio were getting low. So, I thought maybe now is the right time for shifting my number to Jio.
— Saumya Majumder (@iSaumya) November 13, 2016
Just like that on November 13, 2016 I ported my number from Vodafone to Reliance Jio without even realizing how frustrated it can be of having your primary phone number with a super unstable network. At the beginning I was really happy with Reliance Jio, initially I almost didn’t faced any call drops on any of my calls, except a few drops here and there. The internet speed was usable too. I can easily stream movies on Jio Movies app (more about it later). But as time started to pass, things just become more and more difficult for me to rely on Reliance Jio as my primary sim card network.
Why did you ported your number in the first place?
I know a lot of people might be asking this question in the comment section, but honestly I did it for two reasons. Firstly I use a phone with a single SIM slot, so I cannot use 2 SIM cards at the same time. Secondly as Reliance Jio is an Indian company, not a foreign company with Indian subsidiary and as they are fighting so hard with other companies to give us a cheaper and better mobile network which is future proof, I thought I should be supporting their fight as long as they can provide me a usable telephony and internet network connection. Now I feel, I wish I would have joined this cause a little later. 😝
Moreover, in India telecom companies always worked hard to provide us a below average service while charging crazy for them just make more and more profit. Since the birth of 3G and 4G in India no telecom company had actually worked on making a pure IP-based digital network, instead they just used duct tape to make their networks somewhat upgradable while still relying on the ancient infrastructure. After Reliance Jio came, things started to move really fast in terms of using the cutting edge technologies for network infrastructure. I think as I’m an engineer. it invoked something inside me to applause the work of Reliance Jio.
Moreover Reliance Jio was the first company who showed us how other telecom companies were robbing us for the nominal things just to make more and more money. It was a real eye opener which eventually pushed other telecom providers in India to cut down their pricing just to stay relevant in the market.
So, what problems did you faced and still facing with Reliance Jio?
Well there are so many things to say about the experience of using Reliance Jio as a primary SIM without a second SIM card on your phone that I really have no idea from where should I start. 😝 Anyways, lets start with the call drops (yes it is still happening 🤦).
Call Drops Issue
I must say that Reliance Jio has come a long way since their public release on September 5, 2016. The call drops were reduced quite a bit, but it is still there specially for some networks. At the beginning almost all of your calls from your Jio number will get dropped. But now that is not the case anymore.
Almost 70% of my calls doesn’t gets dropped anymore, but the rest 30% are so damn problematic that you will feel to throw away your phone. Mostly the call drop problem are happening with BSNL numbers, both mobile and landlines (mostly landlines) also with STD calls. As an example, every time I had to call any BSNL land line number, I have to try at least 25 – 30 times before the call gets connected. The case is same for calling STD numbers too.
A few days back I had to call a STD number for some work. As it was a STD number, I don’t know with which network it was connected too. But I tried for 30 mins, constantly trying to call him and every time I just heard “All lines in this route are busy” message. It was so frustrating that I had to borrow someone else phone just to call a person. Now try to feel the annoyance. 😡😡😡
Call Connectivity Issue
Call drop and call connectivity are two separate things. what I said above is about call dropping issue, where you have the connection but for some reason the calls are not getting through and you are hearing “all lines are busy” message or your calls are getting dropped while you are talking.
There is another weird problem with Reliance Jio. Sometimes (depending on your location) when you try to call someone you will see that you have moderate or full network in your phone, but as soon as you dial a number, you won’t hear anything and after few seconds later the call will get auto dropped showing your “Network connection issue” on your screen.
At this point it is not just you who were unable to make any calls, in fact if anyone else calls you at this moment you won’t even get that and the person will hear your phone is off or not reachable but please note that you still have moderate to excellent network coverage on your phone and your phone is still giving you the VoLTE connected signal.
I have mostly faced this issue at the busy streets of Kolkata like Sovabazar, Shyambazar, DumDum etc. during the evening time around 6 – 8PM. It is so annoying that I can barely explain it to you.
Luckily as I mostly stay at my office or home I never had to face this issue for prolong period of time. But sometime I can face this problem even in my home or office. And each time I get out on the streets, well I leave my phone connection in the hand of Gods. 😂
This is really annoying and not sure when or if it will ever gets fixed.
Other Call Related Issues
There is another issue I’ve face with Jio, especially when I did STD calls to my friends at Bangalore. Many times the call gets connected, the person picks up the phone, I can hear him fine, but no matter how much I scream at my end the person on the other end of the line hear nothing but dead silence. No matter how many times you call him, the same things will keep happening unless you calls you back.
This is a another supper annoying issue you are going to face if you start using Jio as your primary number. And just like all other issues mentioned here, no one knows when this issues are going to get fixed.
Internet Speed Issue
When Reliance Jio was launched, it was launched as a pure 4G network and it held it’s claim till the point it was under Preview Offer, but since Jio has launched it’s Welcome Offer, the internet speed become so slow that at some point I started to feel that a 3G network will be faster than Jio’s pure 4G network. Though it is mostly because of the insane number of customer Jio has right now and most of those people are always downloading crap to keep the network congested. But still as a company when you are about to release publicly these are the key factor you should keep in your mind.
Honestly after using Reliance Jio for more than two months as my primary SIM card, I kinda feel like their network is really not ready for a stable release and it is more of like a buggy beta version of a programme. Get this, on an average the internet speed I receive from Jio on their pure 4G network is somewhat around 0.2 Mbps to 2 Mbps. It mostly stay between 0.6 – 1.7 Mbps.
At this speed browsing internet become so problematic that I can’t explain it in words. Loading a webpage takes almost around 10 – 15 seconds. If you are thinking about watching videos on YouTube, well make yourself ready for either a lower bit rate video or buffering. It is so bad that while using the Facebook app, if I want to see someone’s profile picture in full screen mode, sometime I have to wait 2 – 3 minute before it shows up. Really frustrating. Believe it or not this is why even tough I have a Jio SIM, I always look for a stable WiFi. Really pathetic. Take a look at this Google Sheet where I’ve plotted my internet speeds, that I have received from Jio. This is exported from speedtest.net app and I will keep updating it with more recent results as time goes on.
But this whole story gets changed when you go to the night unlimited time of Jio’s plans, i.e. from 2 AM to 5 AM. At this time the download speed generally varied between 6 Mbps to 11 Mbps. I know that this is not huge in terms of a pure 4G connection, but seeing this speed with Jio is really an unusual thing. But the problem is who stays up till this time to use the internet? 😱
Another thing I must mention about Jio’s internet connection is insanely unstable. Before coming to Jio, I was a Vodafone user and was using their 4G network where I always got around 7 – 8 Mbps stable speed, no matter what the time. But with Jio, things are so unstable that even if you run a speed test app you can see the insane fluctuation of speed. Sometime it is 0.3 Mbps on the next 3 seconds it is 2.1 Mbps and again back to 1 Mbps. It is really unstable which makes doing online conference, meetings, video calls really a pain in the butt.
I know that Jio has recently released their Happy New Year Offer where they are going to reduce everyone’s daily FUP limit to 1GB. But honestly I’m not much hopeful that it is going to resolve this issue. Only the time will tell.
Call Waiting Issue
This is such a basic issue that I have no idea how Jio team has completely ignored it. Now-a-days almost all of us enable the call waiting option in our phone so that when we are talking with someone, if another call is in line we can see it and if we need we can accept it. Now this process also works with Jio, but the problem lies in a completely different stage.
You see well we call someone who is already talking with someone, if he has call waiting enabled, you will hear that “The person you are trying to reach is on another call, so please hold the line or call again later” – some kind of message like this one way or another. But in case of Jio if you are using a Jio number and talking with someone, the other person who is try to contact you will hear nothing but DEAD SILENCE. Can you imagine it? No right, no message, just silence. So, the person who is try to reach you has no idea whether his call is connected or not because there is no right also he will not have any idea that you are already in a call, unless you pick up his phone and say that I’m in a call.
This is utterly disgusting and ridiculous. This is a basic thing even for 2G calls, how come Jio team completely miss it? This is something you can never discover unless someone call you while you are talking with someone else and then he tells you about this issue. God knows when this is going to be resolved.
Insane problem between Jio and BSNL
Not sure why, though most newspaper shows the war between Jio and other top 3 telcos like Airtel, Vodafone and Idea, but in my own experience I have seen that the most problem Jio has with BSNL. Whether it is call drop of BSNL Landlines or porting a BSNL Cellone number to JIO, it is always a very unpleasant experience. I’ve already talked about the BSNL landline calling issue above, so let me share the porting (MNP) issue.
After I ported my personal Vodafone Postpaid number to Jio, I thought of porting a BSNL Prepaid Cellone number to Jio just to see how things will work out. Believe me or not it is the worst experience I ever had. The first time I tried to port my BSNL number to JIO after generating the Unique Porting Code (UPC) and applying for Jio SIM via eKYC process, Jio people gave me the SIM and BSNL people called me to verify if I wanna really port out. After this almost 15 days passed and the number doesn’t get ported to Jio.
When I contacted the Reliance Digital Store from where I got my SIM, they said BSNL rejected my porting request and I have to re-apply. I thought I should contact BSNL asking for an explanation, but BSNL doesn’t have any contact email id and their customer care people are nothing but a waste of time. So, eventually I filed a grievance complain to the DGM of BSNL GSM division and his office told me that they never received any port out request from Jio on the first place.
So, eventually I tried again and this time I informed both the Jio team and the BSNL grievance that I have applied for MNP so that they clear my request. After making hundreds of called daily to both companies this is what each of them have said to me:
In our MNP GUI (a system where all port request shows up. This system can be viewed by both BSNL and Jio), there is no port out request being shown for your BSNL number. We will request you to contact Jio and if possible get back to us with the port out transaction ID (not the CAF number or your JIO sim request number – it is a 10-15 digit numeric number which can be seen inside the MNP GUI). As soon as we get the port out request, it will automatically gets cleared in 4 days.
Unfortunately as there is no nodal or appellate authorities in Jio, you either have to contact the customer care, who have no idea about the issue I was talking about and no matter what you way they will always ask you to wait for 7 days. So, eventually I have to contact the Reliance Digital Store where I took my SIM card and that person told me that there is no direct email id in Jio to contact the higher authority. He has sent a mail regarding this to his boss and his boss will do the same to his boss and so on until it reached to the actual department. In this process I again lost 10-15 days and no resolution came back and my BSNL number didn’t get ported to Jio.
So, in the end I was spellbound to see that Vodafone released my postpaid number without any hiccups where BSNL didn’t even clear their prepaid number and just simply played the blame game. I think Jio really needs to bury the hatchet with BSNL and resolve these issues as early as possible. Right now calling a BSNL landline number from a Jio number or porting a BSNL number to Jio is nothing but a nightmare.
What are the things that you liked about Jio?
Honestly at this point is there is not much that currently like about their service but there are a few things I like that I should mention here:
- Free Caller Tune: Until Jio starts charging money for their service, you can add free caller tune on your number. But after they starts charging money, it’s gonna cost Rs. 30/month just like any other network.
- Free Miss Call Alert: This is by far the best thing that I like about them. As Jio is such an unreliable network, so when someone call you and it doesn’t reach you, you will get an SMS saying this person has called you X number of times. Now the problem with this system is that I’m not sure whether or not it will remain free after they start charging money for their service and also these miss call alert SMSs comes very slowly. So, if someone tried to call you at 7:00 PM and unable to get in touch with you, you may get a miss call alert SMS at 7:30 PM, even tough you were under network coverage the whole time and the reason the person was unable to contact you is because of Jio’s poor service quality.
What is your thoughts on the Jio Apps?
Well, to be honest they are good as free service but if I have to pay for them I would doubt to do that. Here’s why – you see the online streaming app that I use most is music streaming services. Before coming to Jio I was a premium member of Gaana, another popular music streaming service in India. But after my Gaana premium account expired and I came to Jio, I thought I can easily live with Jio Music app as they are almost same. But I was so wrong. Here’s is my opinion on most popular Jio Apps.
This is the Jio App I use most, but Jio’s internet connection is so unstable that streaming music is just a dream. I have to download them and then listen. Now the best part of all Jio Apps is that if you have a Jio login details, you can even use them over WiFi. But that is not the point here. The point is with Jio’s internet music streaming is merely impossible, unless you download the songs in Jio Music app and listen to them later.
It mostly has Bollywood collection and not much international content. Moreover we are so used to watching movies on computer, it just doesn’t feel the same on mobile. But still I’ve used this app once in a while when I’m travelling. I may consider paying for it in future in case I’m travelling a long distance and I feel bored. But still I might this this subscription for one month but nor for a year.
This is the second most Jio app that I use. It is a great app for watching TV. Also it has many channel (but not all). Also some channels are there in a very biased mode. Like you will find many english channels in Jio TV app that is playing in Hindi or Telugu but nor providing the actual english channel. I hope Jio team will fix these things and add more channels in future. This app is also not a very polished app with a lot of lag and bad user experience. Also till now there is no chromecast support. But as there is no such alternative of what Jio TV app provides, I may get a yearly subscription of this app in future. The only reason behind that is my family watch TV so much that I never get time to watch my favorite shows.
Also it would be nice if Jio TV ads foreign channels like abc, cw, sify, tru tv etc. so that we don’t need to do piracy to watch our favorite shows. But whatever the case is, it is barely watchable with Jio’s internet. I have to connect with my WiFi to watch TV. Jio internet is that much bad. I hope they fix their network so that streaming content become possible.
All other Jio Apps
The rest of the Jio apps are complete crap and I don’t know who is gonna pay for them. If someone who reads a lot of magazines, then he may buy the magazine subscription, but the rest is complete waste. Who needs a Jio News app? We already have Google and Google News. For data backup, I already have Google Drive. So, personally that is my thoughts on Jio Apps.
The Main Problem with all Jio Apps
The main problem with all Jio apps in my opinion is that they are not cross-platform. Like for example Ganna is a cross-platform app. I can listen to Ganna on my computer when I’m working, on my phone when I’m travelling and so on. But that is not possible with any Jio apps. Jio really needs to make their apps cross-platform so that it can be accessed from everywhere.
What was your experience with Jio Customer Care?
Well, I have read in twitter many people complaining that Jio customer care is keeping them in hold for hours, but honestly I never faced any of such issues. Everytime I called them someone picked up the phone and listen to whatever I have to say but in the end they said we will look into it. That’s all. Sometime they even asked for my address, so I thought they might gonna fix the issue here, but nope, that didn’t happen. The only good thing about Jio’s customer care I can say is that they picked up my call.
But the main problem with Jio’s customer support system is that you just god customer care, nothing else. There is no email for nodal officers, appellate authorities or any such thing like that. Almost all private telecom companies in India does have a nodal email and appellate authorities contact email for raising complaints for serious issues.
Honestly the people work in Jio (or any telecom company call centers) are not technically sound at all and they just gives you some scripted replies. That’s their job. On the other hand these nodal and appellate authorities are the people who actually have some knowledge and power to look into things and resolve your problem. But in case of Jio none of them exists as of now.
So, you are just ranting about Jio?
Absolutely not. Don’t take this article as a rant against Jio or their service. This is simply my honest review, what I felt after using Jio as my primary SIM for months in hope you guys will spread this with others and hopefully to Jio management team so that they can fix their mistakes and make sure there customers doesn’t leave them after few months of using them. So, don’t take it as a rant, take it as a criticization, an in-depth look inside Jio’s service quality so that others can take a more educated decision and also Jio can know about their problems.
In fact I am going to update this article at the end of each month just to share the current situation about Jio until they improve their service to a proper high quality level or I left them by being frustrated.
Finally I would say that Jio’s network is no where near to be used as a primary network. You can absolutely use it as your secondary SIM but I will not recommend you to use Jio as your primary number, otherwise you are going to face huge problems. Moreover if Jio is keep providing this quality service months after months, I can certainly say that most high paying customer or people who look for a stable network will never come to Jio and in fact they will loose a huge amount of users. Eventually Jio will become companies like Aircel or Tata Docomo, brand who are nothing but joke in the high class telecom market.
Honestly if Jio ask me pay for their service and stopped providing it for free, I will have no problem with that as long as they can provide a high quality stable connection, I am more than happy to pay for it. But the kind of service they are providing right now it really sub par. In the end I will say that it is high time for Jio to focus on their quality of service instead of spending great deal of money to fight other companies, otherwise this Reliance Jio hype bubble is not gonna last long.