We have now had 3 Sims with our team member for the last 7 days and here we now tell you whether the Jio services really live up to the hype.
Sim Activation: we went to the Reliance digital store on the 6th and the sim obtaining process was pretty seamless. The My Jio app gives you the get sim option, once you input your city details a bar code gets automatically saved in your phones gallery. The bar code along with your Aadhar card and a bio-metric (customers finger print) is used to E-verify the customer. Once the OTP is generated the details are fed in by the service team and a sim card is issued. All the 3 sim cards got activated within 30 minutes. We did not have to call in to the toll free number for activation (that is the process) the data and voice services were automatically activated. There is currently a big waiting list – each digital store is only activating 100 sim cards a day. We got our sim cards on the 6th on the same day token date for new customers who wanted a sim was for the 13th of September.
Voice Services: Yes, you can make unlimited calls to any number in India for free! But as per the latest information available on Jio’s official website, you have to subscribe to any of the ten packs to make calls at zero cost. If you don’t recharge with any of the available packages, then you would be charged at 2 paise/sec for voice calls as per the base plan rate, which is similar to what other operators are charging nowadays.
Interestingly, as Jio uses VoLTE for calls but the users who do not have VoLTE enabled smartphones can use Jio 4G voice app ‘Jio Join’ to make free voice calls. Thankfully, you wouldn’t be charged for any data used for VoLTE calls made on Jio Join app or through device’s VoLTE. For enjoying these free voice calls, you would be required to subscribe to a dedicated tariff plan. The app uses data to make these calls for non VoLTE enabled smartphones; Jio will not deduct data from the pack for voice call usage. The voice call quality is better than what current operators provide but here’s the bad part we were unable to make any incoming calls from other network providers to Jio numbers. There is a big fight going on interconnect ports. We expect the issue to only be resolved by Jan 2017 when the JIO operations are commercially launched. What this means is you will have to carry 2 sim cards one from your current provider to ensure you have access to voice calls.
Post-paid Plans With 15% Savings :
Going by the finding of various researches conducted on customer loyalty, Postpaid customers turned out to be more loyal than prepaid customers. Also, Postpaid customers are the high paying ones. Interestingly, In Jio, prepaid plans with 28 days validity are available for Postpaid users too. But Postpaid customers would have to pay around 20 percent of extra taxes. Also, users can save up to 15% on postpaid bills, if they opt for the ‘Auto-debit’ option using credit/debit cards/online transfer to pay their monthly mobile bill and choose e-bill instead of paper invoices.
More Power to Students:
For the students who have are older than 18 years and are currently studying in any Govt recognized college / university, they can apply for Jio Student plan. In this scheme, students get 25% more data on every recharges made on their number. To register for this plan, students would be required to submit a copy of their student ID card.
Data Service: We have regularly tested for data speeds and I have been amazed at the consistency of data speeds. The lowest download speed that we have tracked at different locations has been at 21.08 Mbps and the highest speed has been at 42.20 Mbps. The average speeds have been above 30 Mbps. We have been able to watch live streams of TV serials in HD on JioTV absolutely seamlessly.
APPS and what do they offer: Jio has list of APPS, we will cover only a few which we thing are pretty interesting and different from what’s on offer currently. Big thing about the apps services is you can download all apps as well as content for no charge till 31st Dec (this includes your entire D2H connection in one app)
1. My Jio
This app is very similar to My Airtel or My Vodafone app. The basic purpose is for the user to be able to keep a track of their various balances, check their data consumption and recharge.
When you first install the My Jio app, it would provide you with an option to download all other Jio apps available on Play Store or App Store. Please note that not all apps are available on Play Store or App Store. It’s upon the end user to decide whether to install all the Jio apps or not.
When entering the My Jio app, the app would ask you to log in or sign up. In order to log in, users need a Jio ID and in order to create a Jio ID, users must sign up. While signing up, the app would ask you to enter your Jio number and then send a OTP to your registered mobile number. Once you enter the OTP, the signup form appears which asks you for your email address and asks you to set a password and confirm it. After finishing the signup process, you can now log into all Jio apps including My Jio app.
2. Jio Join
You can make calls from your native dialler to any number as long as your device supports VoLTE. Also VoLTE capable devices can receive calls on the native dialer. However the vast majority of smartphones in India don’t support it and these smartphones cannot make or receive calls on 4G.
To work around this, Jio has the Jio Join app. While setting up, the app would first check if the device has a Jio SIM. After that, it’d ask a plethora of permissions in case you’re running Marshmallow and more importantly the app would ask you to allow it to draw over other apps.
The basic purpose of the Jio Join app is to facilitate voice calls on smartphones that don’t support VoLTE. However, that doesn’t mean you have to get rid of your native dialler. You can still dial numbers from that, but when you do, the Jio Join app would appear as it has permission to draw over other apps and it’s the Jio Join app the would connect your call but the call log would still be stored by your native dialer. Similarly, when you receive a call, it’s the Jio Join app that receives the call, but the native dialler would log the call nonetheless.
So basically Jio Join app acts as a background app that helps you connect your calls while you make and receive calls on your native dialler. However in order to be able to send SMSes on Jio 4G, it’s necessary to set Join Jio as the default SMS app.
The Jio join app has its fair share of bugs. As of now, the Jio Join app doesn’t work when we connect to our Wifi network, it works only on LTE and even on LTE, it sometimes stops working while we’re downloading a heavy file. The UI of Jio Join is once again mediocre at best. There’s a persistent Notification on the notification panel to indicate whether Jio Join is working or not, that Notification can be turned off from settings however.
3. Jio On Demand
Jio On Demand is Reliance Jio’s version of Netflix. It has around 600-800 movies available on demand. Apart from movies, almost all popular TV shows are available on demand. We were able to find a lot episodes of several popular shows such as Comedy Nights with Kapil or CID. Music videos in all launguages are also available and considering how a vast majority of people use Youtube for just music videos, this can be a real traffic driver for Jio On Demand.
Even when it comes to its on demand service, Jio has once again managed to have a very expansive content arsenal, definitely enough to challenge the likes of HotStar. However, Reliance hasn’t managed to cover all bases. For example, as far as movies are concerned, Jio has only managed to license North Indian and English movies for its on-demand service. No South Indian movies have been licensed from what we could see. Also when it comes to on-demand TV shows, there are no English TV shows available.
The one thing that Reliance has really managed to nail down with Jio On Demand is that its collection of Hindi movies is the most comprehensive we have seen on any on demand video service. If you’re a Bollywood movie buff, Jio On Demand is what you would want. Of course, it doesn’t have every Bollywood movie, but it’s definitely more than any other on demand streaming service in India.
The UI is once again pretty decent and we haven’t noticed any issues with the app. As of now, it looks bug free to us. There’s no option to control the resolution of the video nor is there any option to download videos. The app has heavily borrowed its UI from Netflix. Just like Netflix, there’s an option to resume movies or TV shows just where you left it. Also there’s a trending on Jio row which also seems to be inspired from Netflix’s “Trending on Netflix”.
4. Jio TV
If you want us to put it in one line, Jio TV is basically your entire DTH connection in one app. Almost all the channels that you’re likely to see on Tata Sky or Dish TV are on Jio Play. There are of course some channels which haven’t been added yet. For example there’s no Sony Six HD or Sony ESPN HD in sports which means no IPL. Similarly, there’s no Star World HD which means no Game of Thrones. These are important channels which Reliance hasn’t managed to license but in general Reliance has got several other prominent channels such as Sony HD, Star Plus HD, Colors HD, Max HD, CNBC, ABP News, NDTV etc.
All in all, there are about 300 channels available on Jio TV, by comparison, Tata Sky has around 400 channels available excluding Active services, Showcase, similar HD and SD channels etc. Jio TV definitely hasn’t managed to have all channels, but 300 isn’t bad either. Jio TV has all channels recorded for a period of 7 days which means you can easily catch up on any missed episodes of your favourite sitcom. You have the option to download any future shows that you might want to watch for the next 7 days. Remember, Jio TV doesn’t let you download older shows, only future shows can be downloaded. Also only 7 day old shows can be streamed and only shows upcoming for the next 7 days can be downloaded.
There is one funny thing that we came across while using Jio TV, HotStar is actually a channel within Jio TV, clicking on HotStar just lead us to the HotStar app. We believe there is some kind of cooperation between Jio TV and HotStar, and this understanding is the reason why Star World HD or Sony SIX HD channels aren’t a part of Jio Play since content like IPL and Game of Thrones are HotStar exclusive. What remains to be seen is whether a subscription to Jio TV has HotStar covered or HotStar would require a separate subscription. At any rate if you include the content of HotStar, then Jio TV is definitely the most comprehensive live streaming app out there.
The UI of this app is bad. All the channels and their respective shows are listed in a spreadsheet like table, scrolling which has been a nightmare. Once you select an app, the streaming quality is adjustable and you can select between low medium and high. The settings are once again pretty minimalistic allowing you to “Upgrade” and select whether you want the app to be in English or Hindi. There’s the option to set certain channels as favourite.
5. Jio Express News and Jio Mags
As the name suggests, this is Jio’s news app. While setting up, it asks you what languages you would like to receive your news in as well as the topics that interest you. We chose Hindi and English as our languages and science & technology as our preferred topic.
The UI of the app is pretty great, in fact the best UI amongst all Reliance Jio apps. There are two forms of reading the article. You could either load the article in the built in browser or there’s something called the Express Format that quickly loads the articles, think of the Express Format as Google’s AMP or Facebook’s Instant Articles.
You could select which sources you receive your from news from and there are more than a hundred news sources to choose from. You can favourite certain articles as well change the languages and topics of your interest. This has been the most well designed Jio app. It’s minimalistic, but at the same time, provides all the necessary controls and the Express Format is the real diamond. The Express Format isn’t as stripped down as Twitter’s Quick read mode while at the same time it loads pretty damn fast.
Jio Mags is a separate application. It’s basically an app that consists of several popular magazines. There are various sections to choose from such as travel, tech, fashion politics etc. Selecting a particular section brings up the relevant magazines. Selecting a magazine displays you various editions of the magazine available.
Jio definitely has to put in a lot of work if it wants its Mags app to be even remotely readable. As of now the magazines are like PDF documents and PDFs aren’t fun to read on Android smartphones. You have the option to see how much data the magazines are occupying on your smartphones and the languages you want to read them in.
1. Sim Procurement: Getting your hands on a sim will take time. Be prepared to stand in long queues.
2. Voice calling and Customer service: We do not see voice calling from other providers to Jio being resolved before the commercial launch. On the customer service front we were unable to connect reach them after holding on for more than 20 minutes on 3 separate occasions. They might have been overwhelmed by the initial response, but come on did they not expect this?
3. Data Speeds: Seeing is believing – we are absolutely sold on this front. Data speeds are typically 4 times of what other services providers are delivering
4. JIO Apps: We think some of the APP platforms could be big revenue drivers for reliance in the future. By giving the users a taste of JIO TV and the JIO mags platform (you can virtually see any channel or read any magazine at no cost for the next 3 months) Reliance could be ensuring that data consumption per user is taken to the next level and this eco system is exactly why Reliance has taken this 20 billion dollar bet.
5. On the whole this shake up in the telecom sector is exactly what was needed from the customer’s perspective. I just wish companies in India start taking customer service seriously. Well I guess that would be the start of the next revolution