Soon after the commercial launch of its 4G services, things have been pretty interesting and challenging at the same time for Reliance Jio. The company has managed to add record number of 50 million subscribers in less than three months, but at the same time, some other issues have cropped up too. Now, Reliance Industries Limited (RIL) chairman and managing director Mukesh Ambani is all set to make an announcement tomorrow, which is exactly three months after his September 1speech at RIL’s AGM where he launched Jio. Also Read - Jio maintains lead in 4G download speed, Vi in upload in May: TRAIAlso Read - Airtel launches new Rs 456 prepaid plan: Check data, validity, call and other benefits
The speech will start at 1:30PM and it will also be live streamed on two of company s YouTube channels Flame Of Truth and Jio Digital Life. We expect Ambani to talk about the ongoing issues related to points of interconnect with incumbent telecom operators, which has also resulted in high number of call failures, and could also make an announcement related to much-rumored extension of Welcome Offer till March 2017. Also Read - Jio Freedom Plans 2021: Jio launches 5 new prepaid plans with no daily data limit - check details
Reliance Jio begun its commercial operations from September 5 with Welcome Offer valid till December 31. Under the offer, subscribers get free unlimited voice and video calls across India, unlimited high-speed 4G internet access with a daily cap of 4GB, after which speed will be cut down to 128Kbps, and again restored to normal after 12AM. Along with free unlimited local and national SMS, users also get access to Reliance Jio services to stream music, movies and Live TV, and other services such as cloud storage, access to PDF version of magazines and more.
However, rival carriers cried foul and claimed Jio’s Welcome Offer was against TRAI rules that barred any company from making any promotional offer lasting more than 90 days. Jio revised the offer and any subscriber who subscribed to a Jio connection by December 3 (90 days since the beginning of the promotional offer) will get the Welcome offer till December 31 and those who bought it after December 3 will have to subscribe to tariffs that are in effect then. ALSO READ: Reliance Jio to lead 4G revolution in key markets like India: IDC
TRAI had given clean chit to Reliance Jio for voice calls which will remain free for lifetime, and users will only have to pay for data post that. Plans start Rs 19 with one day validity, Rs 149 for 28 days validity with 300MB high-speed 4G data + 700MB JioNet Wi-Fi hotspot, and going all the way up to Rs 1,499 for 28 days which offers 20GB of high-speed 4G data and 40GB JioNet hotspot data. In case of postpaid, the plans start at Rs 149 with same benefits as prepaid, and goes all the way up to Rs 4,999 with 75GB 4G data and 150GB JioNet Wi-Fi hotspot data.
Now, despite adding record number of subscribers, Reliance Jio has been facing two major issues. Due to unlimited free outgoing calls, incumbent telecom operators are flooded with Tsunami of calls from Reliance Jio. And because of less number of points of interconnect offered by incumbent telecom operators, a lot of calls from Reliance Jio to other operators have been failing, leading to poor experience. As per the recent data released by Jio on November 7, more than 4.74 crore calls failed from Reliance Jio to Airtel network, more than 2.35 crore calls failed on Vodafone and over 1.41 crore calls failed on Idea network. Reliance Jio had also filed a complaint against Airtel and Vodafone regarding the same with Competition Commission of India (CCI) and accused the three of forming a cartel against Jio.
Secondly, 4G data speeds on Reliance Jio have also been dropped down with the increase in subscribers. Earlier, the speeds could go as fast as 20Mbps but since the carrier opened up its network to everyone, the experience has gone down. When the asked why Reliance Jio is offering free services, the company had mentioned that with more number of people on board, it will get to test its network for call quality and data speeds. However, with calls still failing and data speeds dropped to its low, it remains unlikely for Reliance Jio to start paid services. With December 3 deadline fast approaching, we would expect Ambani to reveal Reliance Jio’s plan of action.
However, as TRAI guidelines don t allow promotional offers for more than 90 days, it will be interesting to see how Reliance Jio manages to convince the telecom regulator to extend the offer further. One way would be to make a new offer that is also free but with some changes from the original Welcome Offer and calling it something else. ALSO READ: Reliance Jio SIM card home delivery starts in select cities: Report
There are also reports that Reliance Jio may further disrupt the mobile space with sub Rs 1,500 feature phones with VoLTE connectivity. This could be something to look out for.