So now Mumbai circle has 3 LTE networks, of which 2 namely Vodafone and Airtel are commercially launched while Jio is currently only available to its employees. Some of the early technology adopters have already upgraded to the next gen technology while others have chosen to hold off until the commercial launch of Reliance Jio.
The question that now arises is whether or not the waiting for Jio launch will prove to be fruitful. Will you get a considerably better network than the existing 4G networks in your city? The Jio launch has time and again been delayed, the latest change being from December 2015 to April 2016 (which again is more of a speculation rather than an official timeline declared by the company) and insider news has it that the launch may get further pushed off until June or July.
We decided to put the anticipated Jio 4G network to test by pitching it against Vodafone 4G network to see how much water it holds and what you can expect the network to deliver at launch. In the video above you can see the phone on the left is a 1+ One running on Vodafone 4G while the one on the right is an LG G4 stylus running on Jio 4G (See the VoLTE sign next to the network signal bars). The test was performed in Mumbai circle under the same conditions of location and time and the performance of both networks was recorded.
Vodafone 4G network had consistently lower ping time and higher download and upload speeds compared to Jio 4G network. These findings are contrasting to the fact that Jio has 20 MHz of spectrum in band 40, 5 MHz in band 5 and 6.6 MHz in band 3 in Mumbai while Vodafone only has 8.2 MHz in band 3 and no spectrum in bands 40 and 5. Also Vodafone network is commercially launched and is open to its entire 3G subscriber base to access by a simple sim swap, on the other hand Jio network is practically empty other than the handful of company employees using it.
As we see it from here, the only game that Jio can now play to get a healthy subscriber base to survive in the indian telecom space is a big bang low price offering launch gig like ‘Monsoon Hungama’ back in 2005 at the time of Rcom launch. Jio has the capacity to offer data at half the current market rates to poach the high end data users from incumbent operators and we foresee a bruising price war in the 4G space in the coming days. So if price is a deciding factor for you we suggest holding off 4G till Jio launch.
Note: Jio 4G network is currently in the testing phase and this may not be a direct reflection of performance after launch.
Esmail is our very own in-house spectrum specialist. He is passionate about Telecom, DTH and OTT video streaming apps. When not writing an article, you can find him binge watching shows on Netflix while sipping on a cup of coffee.