Though India is one of the fastest growing economy in the World right now, but when it comes to internet speed, connection quality and cost, India is far behind many first world countries. The average internet speed in India is currently 2.8 Mbps, which is far behind most other countries and in fact the slowest within Asia. This 2.8 Mbps number is an average number while most people has far worse internet connection than the average number. Like for example the internet connection I use is a 2 Mbps connection and most people in my city has internet connection like 512 Kbps or 1 Mbps. Now Mr. Mukesh Ambani (the richest man in India) taken a big step to fix this internet issue in India which their newest venture Reliance Jio.
Though Reliance Jio will start its journey with mobile wireless internet but in the Reliance AGM meeting happened on September 1st 2016, Mr. Ambani said that Reliance Jio is going to provide Gigabit fiber optic connection directly to home users, kind of what Google fiber does in some US cities. This is indeed a super exited time to live in. Now after watching the press release of Reliance Jio yesterday (September 1st 2016) I was so excited and mind blown that I tweeted I’m going to port into Reliance Jio from my current provider Vodafone.
— Saumya Majumder (@iSaumya) September 1, 2016
But after watching the press release over and over, I felt a bit weirdness regarding the pricing model of Reliance Jio. No doubt what Jio is offering is extremely jaw dropping stuffs with unlimited free-calling to any network, free sms, no roaming, no blackout days and you pay only for your data which is again the cheapest in the world but the question I was asking myself is that whether Jio is truly going the reduce the monthly phone bill for the average consumers. So, today in this article I’m going to find that out with some basic math and assumptions.
What base values you are considering as an average consumer?
Now obviously I’m not gonna consider those as average consumer who barely use any internet on their phone instead I’m going to consider users who user their phone for calls (domestic + STD) and use basic internet like doing email, whatsapp, facebook, twitter etc (like myself). So let’s first take a look at what I use my mobile carrier service mostly for:
- Doing domestic calls
- Doing STD Calls
- For ISD calls I mostly use Skype and Google Hangout Dialer (a.k.a Google Voice)
- Using mobile internet for mostly email, skype, whatsapp, social media and surfing websites
Now as I have WiFi connection at my home and office, most data hungry stuffs like watching YouTube videos, updating apps from Play Store, updating Android OS I do over WiFi. So, 1GB 4G mobile data is more than sufficient for me. Now let’s take a look at what plan I use with Vodafone and how much I’m currently paying monthly for my phone bills (please note that I use Vodafone postpaid plan).
|My Current Plan Details|
|Basic Rental Cost||Rs. 299/-||Free 400 min local calls|
|Friends & Family Pack||Rs. 49/-||1 Vodafone local number Unlimited Free|
|1GB 3G/4G Data Pack||Rs. 250/-|
|Avg. Monthly STD Call Charges||Rs. 20/-|
|Sub Total||Rs. 618/-|
|Monthly Bill Discount||– Rs. 150/-|
|Total Charges||Rs. 468/-|
|S Tax @14% + SBC @0.50% + KKC @0.50%||Rs. 70.2/-|
|Total Payable||Rs. 538.2/-|
So, now we get the idea of a person’s average monthly bill amount considering he has a plan like I have with one of the India’s most reputable network. But most people don’t have such a flexible plan, again for the sake of the argument we will move forward with this average monthly amount of Rs. 550/-. Now if you are a heavy mobile internet user then your monthly phone cost might touch Rs. 1000/- to 1,200/- on networks like Airtel, Vodafone.
What are the plans Reliance Jio is offering?
Well as per the press release on September 1st 2016, any person can get a Reliance Jio sim card from September 5th 2016 doe Free of cost if he has a 4G enabled device with him. Moreover as a welcome offer Reliance Jio is not going to charge anything to their users till December 31st 2016. So, till that time you can avail Unlimited Free 4G LTE Internet + Unlimited Free Calls + Unlimited SMS + Unlimited Access to Special Reliance Jio Apps (kind of what Verizon provides in USA, but the Jio apps are far superior than the US carrier’s native apps).
Now after from 1st January 2017, users needs to recharge their Jio number with any of the plans released by Reliance Jio or can go in the postpaid mode with the plans available for postpaid. Now let’s take a quick look at the plans relieved by Reliance Jio for their customers.
|Maximum Retail Price (Rs.)*||19||129||149||299||499||999||1,499||2,499||3,999||4,999|
|(i) Local & STD Voice Call||All local & STD voice calls are Free in home and national roaming|
|(ii) Local & STD Video Calls||All local & STD video calls in home and national roaming will only be charged for data usage|
|(iii) 4G LTE Free Data||100 MB||750 MB||300 MB||2 GB||4 GB#||10 GB#||20 GB#||35 GB#||60 GB#||75 GB#|
|(iv) 4G LTE Data at Night (2 a.m. to 5 a.m.)||Unlimited#|
|(v) Free WiFi Data (post expiry, WiFi data will be charged Rs. 50/GB)||200 MB||1.5 GB||N. A.||4 GB||8 GB||20 GB||40 GB||70 GB||120 GB||150 GB|
|(vi) Free Local & National SMS||100/Day||100/Month||100/Day|
|(vii) Subscription of Jio Apps||Free Subscription of Jio Apps ( Data used for Jio Apps & other contents available on internet will be uniformly debited against your plan data allocation)|
|(viii) ISD Tarrifs||N.A.||Discounted ISD tarrifs in 61 countries|
|(ix) ISD Free Minutes||N.A.||30||50||80||100|
|Validity – Prepaid (Days)||1||7||28||21||28||28||28||28||28||28|
|Validity – Postpaid||N.A.||1 Month||N.A.||1 Month|
* The above MRP price will be applicable for Prepaid users only. For Postpaid users these MRP will act as a base rental plan and Govt. Tax (currently 15%) will be charged on top of it.
# With Reliance Jio, you can use 4GB 4G LTE Data per Day after crossing the 4GB Limit, your speed will be throttled to 128Kbps for that day and will reset again on the next day.
So as you can see these are the 10 plans that Reliance Jio will offer to their users. There is no complicated recharge scheme like other current telecom providers in India. But if you look closely you will see the plan of Rs. 19/- and Rs. 129/- will not help most people are those are not monthly plans. The first monthly plan starts from Rs. 149/- which will provide you 300MB data only along with no WiFi hotspot data. So, if you are a very casual internet users just use internet for checking mails, still at a 4G LTE speed 300MB is going to be very less at the end of 3rd week of each month.
Also at the time of press release Mr. Ambani said that the base internet rate on Reliance Jio would be Rs. 50/GB and the more internet you use lesser the price will be. So, if you do the math on this Rs. 149 plan, you will see that the price of 1GB data is becoming almost Rs. 508.58/- which is the double price of what other telecom companies are charging currently.
300MB Data Cost = Rs. 149/-
1MB Data Cost = (149/300) = Rs. 0.4966666666666667/-
1024MB (1GB) Data Cost = (0.4966666666666667 * 1024) = Rs. 508.5866666666667/- = Rs. 508.58/-
Now when you move towards the higher plans and in your calculation include the data offered with 4G LTE + WiFi Hotspot, you will see that the per GB price is really getting down. Like for example on the Rs. 299/- plan, per GB cost is Rs. 49.83/- on the Rs. 499/- plan, the per GB cost is Rs. 41.58/- and on the Rs. 4999/- plan, the per GB cost is coming to as low as Rs. 22.21/-.
Why postpaid users will be charged higher?
Well this is a huge mystery and to be honest to unravel this mystery I started doing all the researches. I don’t know why but Reliance Jio wants to charge more to the postpaid users without any extra facility. Initially I thought the MRP mentioned by Jio will include all taxes for both prepaid and postpaid users but it seems it only include the prepaid taxes and for postpaid you need to pay tax on top of that mentioned amount.
Now, some might argue that for postpaid users Jio is providing the service for full 1 month whereas for prepaid users it is 28 days (4 weeks). I know so I did some basic calculations again to check which one is more profitable to the users. One thing you need to keep in mind before going into any calculation is that for postpaid user 1 month is considered as 30 days whether that month has 31 days or 28 days.
So, if we take the most bang for the buck plan for the postpaid users it will be the Rs. 499/- plan as Rs. 299/- plan is not available for postpaid users and the Rs. 149/- plan is truly not a good plan to have for anyone who use internet on their mobile device even occasionally.
In prepaid the Rs. 499/- plan covers 28 days, so each day cost will become about Rs. 17.82/-. Now hypothetically if you need to increase your plan validity from 28 days to 30 days you need to pay for 2 days extra i.e. Rs. 35.64/- extra. So, your total price of that prepaid plan will become Rs. 534.64/- (please note the price include all taxes as it is prepaid pricing). Now if you consider the same plan for postpaid users, it will become Rs. 499/- + 15% tax = Rs. 573.85/- (higher than my current average monthly bill)
So, each postpaid user needs to pay roughly Rs. 39.21/- extra (on Rs. 499/- plan) for no good reason. The only extra benefit postpaid users will get is if any postpaid user opt for auto debit of monthly bill using his credit/debit card and at the same time opt for paperless e-Bills then they will get 15% discount on the total bill amount.
What about prepaid users?
Well, Jio has already providing a great pricing model for their prepaid users unlike the postpaid users, but when you look closely and do some basic math, you will see why Mr. Mukesh Ambani is the richest person in India and an excellent business person, because he can play such an amazing number game. So, let’s dig into the prepaid plans. For the sake of this article I’m not going to consider any plans which cost more than Rs. 499/- because honestly most people cannot afford that. The Jio plans which is going to be used by majority of Indians are the Rs. 299/- plan and the Rs. 499/- plans because unless you constantly watch YouTube videos for hours on your phone or do snapchat, multiplayer gaming, downloading huge files, you will never cross the 4GB data limit on the Rs. 499/- plan.
So, let’s take a look at the Rs. 299/- plan which is going to be the most popular Jio prepaid plan in my opinion. Now with this 299 plan you are getting 2GB 4G LTE internet and 4GB WiFi data which is more than enough for average internet users, but the validity of this plan is 21 days and not 28 days like the 499 plan. So, with the 299 plan your each day cost is coming to Rs. 14.24/-. Now if you multiply it with 28 your price will become almost Rs. 399/- and if you calculate a full one month price i.e. 30 days it is coming to Rs. 427/-, just Rs. 72/- lesser than the 499 plan which has double data limit. So, you can see it is nothing but a game of numbers.
So, is going with Jio not a good choice?
Hell no. I never said that. What I’m trying to say here is that Reliance Jio is a great service which is providing super high quality service (both voice + data) at a cost no one would have imagined. But the point is the pricing is not as jaw dropping as we have thought earlier. In fact for some postpaid users might need to pay a little more than what they are currently paying as their average monthly bill. But in return you are getting super high quality voice (the only telecom company that uses VoLTE technology) with Unlimited offering, super high quality true 4G LTE internet, no roaming headache and much more. Also you are getting huge data limit considering your current plans. For example my current average bill amount is Rs. 538/- and with Jio’s 499 postpaid plan I might need to pay Rs. 574/- but I’ll be getting 4GB 4G LTE data instead of just 1GB with my current plan even if I don’t use their WiFi hotspot service.
Personally the thing that really intrigued me is the “No Roaming” thing. Most of the time when I go outside of my state I cannot contact my family because of the insane amount telecom companies charge for roaming. So, I’m super excited to port into Reliance Jio, but what about you? Do you really think Reliance Jio is a better choice than the other telecom providers out there?
What about the fiber optic gigabit internet you talked about earlier?
Yes, Mr. Mukesh Ambani has said that Jio will provide super high quality gigabit internet connection through optic fiber directly to user’s house kind of what Google Fiber does in some cities of US, but unfortunately Mr. Ambani didn’t provide any pricing model or time limit for that. I’m assuming this is going to happen at sometime around 2018. So, stay tuned for that if you are interested.
Mr. Ambani has also said that Jio will provide multiple gigabit internet connection to small, medium or big enterprises. Maybe now the quality of Indian datacenters will change and provide super high quality servers with unparalleled networks.
Will this “unlimited call on any network” will remain forever or it is just a marketing gimmick?
Well, it is hard to tell at this point. I remember back in 2006-07 when Aircel was starting up, they started offering unlimited calling + sms to any network at a Rs. 600/- recharge each month. Back in that time no one thought having internet on their phones. Some cool kids whose parents had a lot of money to space used to have EDGE (2G) on their phone and that was mind-blowing back in those days.
So you can understand people mostly used to call and sms others instead of doing facebook or whatsapp. But after few months of it’s launch other telecom companies started pushing Aircel and they got forced to reduce their offering to Unlimited free for Aircel to Aircel. So, honestly I’m not sure how this is going to play for Jio. Though Mr. Ambani said on stage that Jio will never charge their customers for calls and SMS, but only time will tell whether it’s true or not. One thing Jio has but Aircel didn’t is the backing of the richest person in India who knows how to do business better than anyone else. So, only time will tell.
Some facts about Reliance Jio
I know most people who are reading this article, already knows these stuffs but still if there is someone who doesn’t know, here are a few facts about Reliance Jio:
- Reliance Jio is a venture of Reliance Industries Limited (RIL) it has nothing to do with the current Reliance Telecom’s disgusting service quality. Reliance Telecom is chaired by Mr. Anil Ambani but RIL is chaired by Mr. Mukesh Ambani. So, don’t get lost within the name Reliance Jio is not a child of disgusting Reliance Telecom.
- Reliance Jio is the only telecom company now in India which uses VoLTE technology which provides far better voice quality and you can use your data while you are on call.
- If you have a 4G phone and it doesn’t support VoLTE, you won’t be getting the unlimited call benefit as in that case all calls needs to be routed through Jio Join app and when you call your data balance will be deducted. You also need to always keep your internet on otherwise no incoming or outgoing calls will come to your phone. Just like if you call someone over whatsapp or skype. So, to get all Jio features make sure your phone support VoLTE.
- Reliance Jio is the only telecom network which is build upon the internet protocol technology. So, whether you call someone or send SMS all done upon the same IP protocol. There is no 2G/3G in Jio’s network and there is also no special frequency/bands for calls, sms and internet. All happens on the same layer. That is why Jio is able to provide such cheap offerings.
- Jio’s network is fully future proof for 5G, 6G and so on.
I’ve tried to gather as much details as possible at the time of researching about this article, but still there might be a few mistakes here and there. If any Jio employee is reading this article and find something to share about, please feel free to drop those thoughts in the comment section below.
Reliance Jio has truly started a revolution in the Indian Telecom industry. Though the offerings by Jio seems too good to be true, but if they really keep this momentum, my assumption is by the end of next 2 years more than 85% Indian smartphone users will be customer of Reliance Jio. But if they started providing bad service and customer support continuously after 6 months or so, then Reliance Jio will become another company like Aircel or Reliance Telecom, which people rarely use. But looking at the business record of Mr. Mukesh Ambani, I really don’t think that is going to happen.
I know currently some people are facing some issues with getting new sim and activation over Jio, but I really don’t blame Jio for that. India has the second largest population the world and if most people started applying for Jio sim at the same time, it is really takes time to process all those data. But this problem may retain for next 4-6 months. After that the actual test of Jio’s service quality will begin.
No matter what, one thing is very clear that with Jio, you may get a lot of benefits with super high quality data and voice service, but your monthly phone spending will remain same if not increased a little bit in some cases.
So, I’ve shared my thought about Reliance Jio and my worrying too. But what about you? Are you excited about Reliance Jio too? Do you going to get a new sim of Jio or port into it like me? Are you happy with your current telecom provider? Have you used Jio, what is your experience so far? Will you recommend Jio to others, if not then why? Do you think migrating to Jio is really going to reduce your monthly phone bills? I would love to your opinion on these matters and carry on this conversation the comment section below.
Also if you want you can connect with me over twitter with my twitter handle @iSaumya. I’m looking forward to hear your thoughts on this and if this small piece of code helped you anyway. 🙂