Reliance Jio, an all new mobile network ready to be launched in India is the talk of the town these days. Unlike other existing networks we already have on the Indian spectrum like Airtel, Vodafone, Idea, Reliance Jio is different and will be the first network to come with VoLTE support. The network has already been made available for early bird users through their LYF phones and introductory offers, but the public launch is still awaited.
Luckily, we at Guiding Tech got our hands on the introductory offer of Reliance Jio and have been using it for past few weeks and my family and friends were constantly asking me questions related to Jio. So rather than telling each one individually, I have documented what I think are the frequently asked questions and tried to answer them in the easiest possible way.
Let’s have a look.
Q1. What is Reliance Jio and How VoLTE is Different from Others?
Reliance Jio is a new mobile network that will be launching in India and will be the first VoLTE enabled network. They aim to give users an amazing voice and data experience to users right on their mobile device. They have also developed a complete ecosystem around Jio to bring rich digital content to users for a cheaper price when compared to other services. They have also launched some affordable devices in the market with the cheapest one priced at Rs. 3000 (LYF Flame).
VoLTE, on the other hand, is the voice network Jio is delivering to users. The SIM cards will not be different, but the band on which they operate will be different. VoLTE stands for Voice Over LTE and it’s like taking calls in high definition which is done on a 4G network when compared to Airtel, Vodafone and other networks which are still utilizing the 3G/2G network for calls. One more advantage of VoLTE is that you will be able to access the internet on the phone even while you are on a call which is not always possible on other networks.
Q2. Will Jio Work on All Smartphones?
Beginning with iPhone, only the iPhone 6s, and 6s Plus support VoLTE. When it comes to Android, you will have to research a bit on forums if your device will support VoLTE network or not. Almost all the latest phones with Snapdragon processors support VoLTE network. Here’s a list of all the phones that support VoLTE at the moment which you can check out. Remember to check if your phone supports any of three LTE Bands which are:
1. 1800 MHz band 3
2. 850 MHz band 5
3. 2300 MHz band 40
However, the thing to note here is that even if a phone is not supported for VoLTE but has 4G/LTE support, you can use the Jio SIM just for its data services. You can also create a hotspot from those phones and connect from PC or other smart devices. Only voice services will not be accessible and you will not be able to call from unsupported devices.
Q3. What Band is Jio Going to Support?
In my last point, I mentioned all the three bands Jio is going to support. The thing to note here is that while Jio has the license to operate on 800 MHz and 1,800 MHz bands in 10 and 6 circles respectively, it has a pan-India license to operate on 2300 MHz spectrum. Also lower the band, better is the bandwidth and speed. But not all the phones support Band 5 and therefore you must do some research before investing in your new phone.
Reliance Jio is going to use all the three bands in India and if your phone supports all three of them, there’s nothing like it. Also, manufacturers like OnePlus are working with Jio to get VoLTE support for all three bands on their previous phones and therefore you will have to follow the news to get notified about your specific devices.
Q4. How Can I Get a Jio SIM Card?
Well, this is one question everyone is asking me these days and to be blunt, not everyone can get a Jio SIM like they can get an Airtel or Vodafone SIM. Right now you can consider them to be in a beta phase and only the person who buys Reliance LYF device or can access frequent offers for devices they roll out can get the Jio SIM. Currently, all Samsung devices which support VoLTE can get Jio SIM with unlimited calls and data as part of a preview offer.
Also, the SIM cards that you get with LYF devices are locked to the specific IMEI of the phone and therefore cannot be used on other devices. You can only activate the hotspot to share data connectivity. The SIM cards from the Samsung offer are not locked to a specific device and can be used on any device once the product is activated from the Samsung phone. Once the network is open to the public, which is due this month, you will be able to buy Jio SIM cards from authorized dealers.
Q5. What is this Jio Ecosystem You Speak Of?
Reliance Jio is not only working to get HD voice and high-speed data service to its users but is also planning to create a digital ecosystem. It has already launched some apps like JioOnDemand, JioPlay, JioBeats, JioMags, etc. using which you can watch TV shows, movies, read magazines, listen to music and even read magazines all through one Jio ID which is basically your phone number.
Right now all these services are free of cost in the preview offer and there is no news of any additional cost that will be levied on the customer after the public launch. Talking about the content, it’s one of the best for Indian consumers.
This has enabled testing of the network, user applications and services and business platforms. The feedback from test users is extremely encouraging. The test programme will be progressively upgraded into commercial operations in the coming months – Mr. Mukesh Ambani, Chairman of Reliance
Q6. Does Jio Guarantee Amazing Speeds?
Reliance Jio gives pretty good speeds when compared to Airtel and Vodafone and I personally have recorded a maximum speed test of 54 Mbps in a few locations in Bangalore. However, I have also recorded speeds as low as 3 to 4 Mbps in other parts of the city and therefore it’s a gamble on what kinda speed you will get and that really depends on the location you live in.
Moreover, Reliance Jio is currently in the hands of a limited number of users and therefore the bandwidth might decrease after public launch as more and more users start buying it.
Q7. Will Jio be Cheaper Than Competitors?
According to current speculation, Jio might be cheap when compared to networks like Airtel, Vodafone, Idea and others. But there is no substantial information at to what the price might be when it’s officially launched. However, according to some press releases, Jio might even provide 10 GB worth of data for only Rs. 97 which is far less than what others offer.
Jio activation can take anywhere between 4 hours to 2 days and the reason is the silly verification process. The inside story is that the document that you give the Jio center will be scanned via a phone to an app and will be submitted as an order. The timeout period of Jio is very less and it’s a herculean task using the box provided to these centers.
I personally witnessed the staff scanning the documents 3 to 4 times simply to get it verified. Also, I was rejected for a silly reason like “permanent address too small”. I was like, this is what everyone has been using for decades and how can I add something irrelevant to my address. After around 4 days my SIM was activated after many layers of escalation. So in a nutshell, activating the SIM can be quite a task if things remain the same.
Q9. Am I Happy with Jio?
It has been more than a week since I am using my Jio SIM on a OnePlus 3 and I can say that I am happy with the download speed I am getting. However, while making voice calls most of the times the network is congested and it can take 5 to 6 attempts to connect the call. Apart from that, there were some locations where there was network coverage, but the data service was not working.
So yes, the network has its ups and downs, but then I am using the preview offer for free with unlimited data and calls, so you can say I might be biased at the moment. We will have to wait for the public launch to get the full picture along with tariff details and then I might change this answer.
Q10. Anything Else?
You tell me. As far as I am concerned, I have put everything on the table about Reliance Jio and VoLTE, but if you have any additional doubts or questions, I will be happy to answer them in the comments section.