Why I’m ditching Reliance Jio and maybe you should too

Cheap data is useless if it can't access your information fast enough

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Reliance Jio has had a good run over the last nine months since its announcement, having racked up 100 million subscribers. Despite Reliance’s announcement of becoming a paid service from April 1 (which they didn’t, but more on that later), 72 million of their customers have shelled out the money to become Jio Prime members. Celebrating the achievement, Reliance announced that it would be extending the deadline to sign up for Jio Prime to April 15, along with introducing the Jio Summer Surprise offer. Essentially Reliance said that all Jio Prime members who recharge for Rs. 303 or above before April 15 will get three months of free service and that recharges would be due July onwards. The promise of free service is what got me onto the Jio bandwagon in the first place, but alas, I must get off this freight train and I feel you should know why.

Mediocre speeds at their best
As a journalist, I am on the move most of the times, meaning I rely on my mobile internet connection a lot, whether its to tether or just do my work on the phone. When at events, I am shooting photos on the Sony A7 MarkII, which produces gorgeous 24 megapixel JPG file, weighing up to 12MB each. When these images have to be sent back to the news-desk in office, Reliance Jio’s 4G connection has almost always let me down, with the upload being painfully slow. Many-a-times, the connection was so slow that it wouldn’t even load the word files coming in on e-mail. Bottomline, I needed a connection that was fast and Reliance Jio wasn’t cutting it. I often found myself turning back to my Airtel sim to turn on tethering. Reliance Jio doesn’t offer the ability to pay more to get higher 4G speeds, which is a major bummer.

airtel_vs-reliancejio_myspeed_850 airtel_vs-reliancejio_speedtest_850

Tethering for Singles only
The terms and conditions on the Jio Prime offer state clearly that only one device may be tethered to the Jio 4G service. What this means is that when I’m on a family vacation, I wont be able to share my internet with my parents or my 13 year old sister who can’t survive without a streaming service. Typically, I just turn the hotspot on my Airtel number on for family trips so that everyone can stay connected. If I switch to Jio, I lose this ability for good. While one could argue that for such little price, it is a justified limitation, but the lack of an option to pay more and get the ability to tether more devices is also missing.

Read: Best Unlimited Data Plan: Jio vs Airtel vs BSNL vs Idea vs Vodafone vs MTNL

Reliability Concerns
I have often faced situations where calls made through Jio just would’t go through. Sometimes, they’d take unusually long before we’d hear the first sign of a ringtone. With regards to data, there were many instances where webpages just wouldn’t load. Unfortunately, in a fast moving world, Jio’s services for me were just not able to keep up. This isn’t to say that Airtel’s network performed without any flaws. There were many instances of dropped calls on Airtel, sometimes so frequent that they could make a Buddhist monk rage. Given the routes that I drive on a regular basis, I know the dead-spots now, so I just avoid being on calls while passing through such areas. With Jio, the connectivity issue has been completely arbitrary in the last 5 months of me using the sim. Over the last few months, I have tried very hard to make Jio my preferred sim card for calls (given they are free), but I find myself always turning to my Airtel number to make calls.

You Get What You Pay For
In the last five months of using Reliance Jio as a free service, I have come to realize that you get what you pay for. While many are happy to use the “but its free” justification to retain their Jio numbers, for me, speed and reliability are critical components of a mobile service, and I am willing to pay for it. Top speed and the ability to work without having to worry about daily data caps are also important. Reliance Jio just does not give me what I need which is why I didn’t sign up for Jio Prime before the April 1 deadline, and which is why I wont be signing up for the service by April 15th either. What good is large amounts of data if you can’t access content fast enough on it? We all have our definitions of “fast enough” and Reliance Jio doesn’t meet mine, which is why I am going to stick with Airtel.