A review of Reliance Jio, the upcoming 4G behemoth

A review of Reliance Jio, the upcoming 4G behemoth

Reliance-Jio

Reliance Jio is an upcoming 4G service provider. Though the name Jio isnt a household name, the brand is far from being unknown. It’s a subsidiary of Reliance Industries, headed by the Mukesh Ambani. Though it may sound like yet another 4G provider in a market saturated by existing ventures, Jio is exciting for one reason-VOLTE, or voice over LTE. While existing telecom providers offer voice through the existing 2G spectrum, calls originating in Jio network travel as data packets through 4G network. As such, theoretically the calls ought to be crisper (since more high quality voice data can be transferred when the medium is high bandwidth 4G network) and cheaper. I read that Jio’s vision is to provide LTE data that’s affordable to everyone. Gauging by the prelaunch offers Jio provides, one can definitely expect something awesome.

Having a friend who works in Jio, I had early bird access to a Jio sim. My experience with the fledgeling service was nothing short of enthralling. Awesome download speeds and great clarity were the norm with the occasional disconnection. Initially I could use only data on my Oneplus One, since the phone didn’t support VOLTE. But Jio soon rectified this and paved the way for the masses to experience firsthand, something than can be described as nothing short of exciting. For the first time, one could experience excellent data speeds which Indians had hitherto only dreamed of.

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Jio is now impeding launch, and tens of thousands of Indians are now putting Jio’s bandwidth to the ultimate test. Jio initially offered its preview offer to employee sims, and thereafter open the doors to owners of selected Samsung high value phones. Then, knowingly or unknowingly, they left open a “bug” which allowed owners of other brands 4G handsets to register to the service and experience the “in-thing”. If you ask me, it was not a bug. Most probably at some high level of the management, they may have made a conscious decision to allow other customers access to the service. For the best way to engender curiosity and improve market presence by marketing is passive marketing, by word of mouth. Jio didnt even need to launch ads, already there’s a huge demand for their sim cards.

Word is rife in Whatsapp and Telegram groups that people are even reselling employee sims at a huge price because of the sheer demand for a Jio sim!

Anyway, the speeds of Jio have been excellent. The following is a speedtest that I did today at Kochi. Let the figures speak for themselves:

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Anyway, one thing is clear, Reliance Jio will give the rest of the service providers a nightmare once it releases! For consumers, it’s a dream come true.

It’s not fair to be critical of Jio at this point of time when it has not yet commercially launched. However, the following sum up my experience with Jio:

Call quality: Calls on Jio require either a VOLTE supported handset. If you don’t have one, don’t despair, because the company has launched an Android app, Jiojoin which helps non-VOLTE handset users make calls (including video calls), send sms and more. The app does its work, but it could have been better designed. The fonts are small, and the interface unintuitive. It also seems to hold wakelocks, which are never a good idea, since it drains your battery quickly. Once the app is redesigned and the bugs removed, everyone can join the VOLTE bandwagon. Oh and did I mention that as a preview offer, All India calls are free for 90 days?

Data: This is the awesome part of Jio. Internet connectivity is excellent, barring the occasional disconnection (location specific no doubt). In Trivandrum at least disconnection rate is very high, and it’s difficult to make calls without getting disconnected very soon. By the looks of it, Jio is working hard to fix their network.

Jio may very well deliver on its promises of “shaping the future of India by providing end-to-end digital solutions for businesses, institutions and households and seamlessly bridging the rural-urban divide.”.

 


You are reading this post on Joel G Mathew’s tech blog. Joel's personal blog is the Eyrie, hosted here.
Uber customer support personnel are vindictive and illmannered

Uber customer support personnel are vindictive and illmannered

When Uber was launched in Trivandrum half a year ago, I was one of the first to embrace this low cost solution for transportation which seemed at the time to be a boon to the common man, to escape the clutches of fleecing autorickshaw and taxi drivers. Recently however I was taken aback by the response from Uber customer support to a situation where I was at the receiving end when a taxi driver cancelled on me, at 3 a.m. after having booked a taxi 10 minutes ago.

It is at 3 a.m that the Palakkad Town bound Amritha Express reaches Ernakulam North railway station. Amritha express is two trains joined as one, including both Amritha Express and the Rajya Rani express. Hence, the train is very long, and the Rajya Rani coaches almost stretch out of the station when the rear end of Amritha express parks at the station entrance. If you were unlucky enough to be on Rajya rani coaches, you need to walk half a kilometre to the station’s prepaid autorickshaw counter. By that time, there would be a very long queue, and often, you may need to wait for the autorickshaws on trips to return. Anticipating this, on 20th April, 2:50pm, I booked an Uber cab while the train was pulling into Ernakulam North railway station. For the booking, I used the app to search for Ernakulam North railway station as the starting location. A driver named Vineeth accepted the trip, and confirmed that he would arrive in 10 minutes, and requested that I wait for him. Having waited for 15 minutes, I checked the app and found that the driver had cancelled the trip on his own, without even informing me. By that time, there was as expected an extremely long queue at the autorickshaw counter, and no autorickshaws available. When I rechecked Uber, I found that it was now showing surge pricing. I decided therefore to wait for an auto.

Having reached my destination, I shot off a complaint to Uber regarding the driver who never turned up. Imagine my extreme chagrin when I received a reply from Uber customer support, alleging misuse of the system by me, and threatening to terminate my Uber account if such malpractise was noticed in future. The mail I received follows:

“Hi Joel,

I’m reaching out because we received feedback from one of your recent trips that the request location and pick up location were very far apart from each other. Upon further investigation, it looks as though the request location was within a surged pricing zone and the dropped pin was not.

Dynamic pricing allows us to quickly get more drivers on the road to serve you during busy times. Our intent is to make sure we’re the most reliable ride out there so you aren’t left stranded. You always have the choice of whether to request a ride or not, and we provide full transparency about dynamic pricing in your app before, during, and after you request a ride. Manipulating this system is misuse of the application and is frustrating for our driver-partners. Should we hear of future similar complaints, we may have to suspend your use of the app.

We appreciate you riding with us so far and would like to see you continue to use Uber.

Safety and accountability is built into the Uber experience, before, during and after a ride. Read more.

Regards,

SHERANCE JOSEPH
help.uber.com”

In fact, his insinuations were false. While booking my ride, I had booked my searching the location via the Uber app, and then booking the ride. Apparently that location, and the actual GPS based PIN (PIN in Uber, is the GPS coordinate of the pickup location) of the railway station was different. The glitch could have crept in because searching by location name utilizes Google Maps’ preset GPS coordinates for a location, and searching via auto-discovered GPS location searches exact location. These could match two entirely different loations seperated by some distance. Because I’m technically inclined and bothered to look into it, I discovered this.

Imagine the effect of wanton allegations levelled against a prospective customer? Do you actually want customers to give your service a miss? I most vehemently place on record my anger at Mr Sherance’s allegations without looking whether there was a technical fault at your end. In fact last week, I found that Uber had overcharged me for a ride I took, and on investigation Uber confirmed that there was a technical glitch causing it. I am well within my rights to file a consumer case for that instance. Software systems are not perfect. Rectify your fault before alleging blame on someone else!
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You are reading this post on Joel G Mathew’s tech blog. Joel's personal blog is the Eyrie, hosted here.