The Cricket season is in full frenzy mode, and barely days after the conclusion of the ICC World T20, it’s now time for IPL 2016. Besides the sixes, wickets, and Cricketing stars, there is one other thing that has caught our attention. Reliance Jio has been offering free Wi-Fi services, called Jionet, to spectators in six stadiums across India. We tested the Jionet service at Mumbai’s Wankhede stadium in a couple of matches, and here is our review. Also Read - JioPhone Next specifications revealed ahead of November launch: Check price, full specs, moreAlso Read - Best postpaid plans under Rs 600 from Reliance, Airtel, Vodafone-Idea: Unlimited calls, OTT subscription, more
We tested Jionet service during the Afghanistan vs South Africa match, and India vs West Indies Semi Final at the ICC World T20, and also the first IPL 2016 match between Mumbai Indians and Rising Pune Supergiant. The first thing you notice is just how easy it is to connect to Reliance’s free Wi-Fi network. In fact it only takes three steps. Also Read - Reliance Jio vs Vi vs Airtel: Best 4GB daily data prepaid plans under Rs 600
Step 2: Hitting the Wi-Fi network will direct you to the Jio login page. Enter your mobile number to get a SMS with an OTP code, which is valid for 24 hours.
Step 3: Enter the code in the given space, and you will be connected to the Jionet Wi-Fi service .
The OTP should arrive in seconds, but it also depends upon the size of the crowd. For example, the code arrived in seconds during the match between Afghanistan and South Africa, when the stadium was less than half full. But during the packed house at the India vs West Indies semi-finals, the code took more than 15 minutes to arrive.
Jionet is free to use, and there is no data or time constraints either. There are no restrictions on what you can access either, and all services like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, WhatsApp, and YouTube can be used on Jionet. We even ended up updating all our apps from the Play Store and also downloaded Asphalt 8: Airborne (more on that later).
While the connection seemed fast enough during normal usage, we put it through a SpeedTest, to ascertain exactly what speeds we could get. As you can see in the above screenshots, we got download speeds up to 48Mbps, and upload speeds of up to 29Mbps when the stadium was half-full. During the IPL match this weekend, the speeds had unsurprisingly dropped, but they were impressive nonetheless. A SpeedTest showed download speeds up to 21Mbps, and upload speeds of around 11Mps, which is more than what most of us get from our home broadband service providers.
We put the Wi-Fi service to another test, and downloaded Asphalt 8: Airborne on our smartphone. The 42MB game was downloaded in a matter of seconds, but what impressed us was the first update before the game actually starts. This 830MB update was downloaded in less than five minutes. This was done during the South Africa match. We even did a Facebook Live Video at the stadium, and it worked flawlessly.
These are impressive numbers, especially when you consider this is a free service, and mobile networks inside the stadium are not always reliable. Getting around 20Mbps for free is astonishing, and it adds a new dimension to watching the Cricket matches live in a stadium.
Jionet is available for spectators at the Feroz Shah Kotla in Delhi, Eden Gardens in Kolkata, Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai, Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bengaluru, IS Bindra Stadium in Mohali and HPCA stadium in Dharamshala. Reliance claims to have set up more than 600 access points in smaller stadiums like Ferozshah Kotla, and more than 1,000 access points in Eden Gardens. The Jionet network is supported by 100Gbps backhaul to ensure at least 15Mbps speed for up to 40,000 spectators during the matches.
Jionet can be considered as a nice little teaser for what we can expect when Jio commercially launches its 4G services in India. Leak suggests that Jio’s 4G plans could include mobile data at 50p/MB, and video calls at 5p/sec. As for availability, reports suggest that the company is gearing up for a soft launch in the coming weeks, followed by a full roll out some time towards the end of this year.