RJio’s Datagiri: The Reality Behind Free Voice Calls, Separating Fact From Fiction!

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At the Reliance Annual General Meeting yesterday, Mukesh Ambani, Chairman and MD of Reliance, officially announced the launch of their 4G services - Jio. Reliance had been teasing it for a while, and it was meant to be a premium data service available to 1.2 billion Indians at low costs. While Jio is promising to offer dirt cheap rates with a pledge not to charge a penny for voice calls, let us take a look at what Jio is offering:

Free Voice Calls. Really?

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.

Hold on, Video Calls Aren't Free!

Yes, you read that right. Unlike the voice calls, video calls on Jio won't be free. If you would recharge with Jio's 'All In One' pack then you can enjoy free voice calls. However, for these video calls, you have to pay the data cost, which will be deducted from your data balance. The base tariff for Video Calling is 5paise/second.

Full Talktime on Every Top Up of Rs. 100 and more:

That comes as a sigh of relief. It means that users would get value for money for every recharge of and above Rs. 100. The denominations on which you can get full talk time are 100, 150, 200, 300, 500, 750, 1000, 2000, 5000.

Currently, Airtel and Vodafone are offering full talk time on recharges above Rs. 200/222. Full talk time offers on lower denominations is only limited to their self-care apps.

Postpaid 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.

Ouch! No Data Carry Forward:

Even after touting itself as the data-driven operator, Jio would not offer data carry forward feature. It comes up as a drawback for Jio, as they are promising to deliver high speed data to transform the lives of Indian to digital life. And this move does not accord to their 'pious' motto.

When Airtel, Vodafone and BSNL offering this feature on individual packs, we don't know why Jio is avoiding it. Even a few days back, telecom watchdog increased data packs validity limit to 12 months from 3 months so that operators can offer data and customers can use it throughout the year as per their whims and fancies.

Pay for Conference Calls:

Jio offering free voice calls but that doesn't mean you can use it for conference calls. For the ones who make regular conference calls, have to recharge with conference plans once Jio starts charging. However, for the users who make conference calls with just three people, wouldn't have to pay extra. Also, these packs would be auto-renewed, so users would have to unsubscribe manually.Jio conference plan

Also read: Reliance Jio Plan details – In depth analysis

Unlimited Night Timing:

You might have noticed most of the Jio plans come with unlimited data at night, which is a plus factor for Jio 'All In One' packs. But, we would like to bring this to light that Jio has set night timing for unlimited data during 2AM to 5AM. It might pose as a drawback as most of the operators are offering night data during 12 midnight to 6AM.

Jio is not really giving Rs 50/GB of data:

One of the biggest claims made yesterday by Mukesh Ambani was that Jio would offer the cheapest data tariffs in the world at Rs 50/GB. However, none of the plans that were revealed yesterday on stage showed that was the case. In the tariff plans submitted to TRAI, Jio has revealed that the Rs 50/GB rate would only be applicable for JioNet Wi-Fi service, after the user exhausts the data on the plan. Jio users have to pay 0.25p/10KB which means Rs 250/GB for accessing the internet after they exhaust their initial data limit of the plan voucher. Pay as you go customers who do not recharge with any of the plan vouchers would be charged 0.5p/10KB for accessing data.

Data Add On Packs aren't Cheap :

Today, Jio unveiled data add-on packs for subscribers consuming more data. But all of these add-on packs are expensive when compared with data packs which are currently available in the market.

Jio addon packs

In fact there is another factor, which further brings down the lustre of Jio data packs, especially when compared with Airtel's offer of Rs. 50-60 per GB. Jio data packs will not sound great when you realise that in these packs, the data is available as WiFi data and to consume the data, one has to solely depend on WiFi hotspots, which can be frustrating.

Though Jio has plans to set up 15 lakh WiFi hotspots across the country by mid-2017. But it is unlikely that all of us everyone would get WiFi hotspots around our home.

Data won't be truly Unlimited from now:

Those who are using Jio realise that Jio is unlimited when it comes to data, calls and SMS. However, from September 5 to December 31 , every existing Jio connection would be migrated to Jio Welcome Offer in several phases. While new connections given after September 5, would be activated under Jio Welcome Offer where data isn't truly unlimited as the company has set a FUP of 4GB/day post which speeds would be capped at 128 Kbps as unlimited data. Many of you might believe that 4GB/day is quiet enough but there are many of us who enjoy full HD content, who can be adversely affected with this move.

Data isn't free for using Jio Apps from next year:

Yes, that's correct. From early next year, whenever you browse Jio Apps or stream music, videos or watch TV shows on JioTV, you would be charged for the data. Jio has clarified that data used for HD voice calls will not be deducted from balance but data used for video calls as well as for accessing digital content in its media apps will be deducted from the main data balance. This move by Jio is to avoid conflict with differential pricing regulation.

High International Roaming Charges:

There is little doubt that Jio is a great network, but even so, you might suffer when using Jio in international destinations as the company hasn't forming roaming partners and currently Jio tariffs are quiet expensive. So, think before using Jio in International destinations.

DISCLAIMER : Views expressed above are the author's own, In case of any correction mail me imon @ telecomtalk dot info

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