Reliance Jio’s advertisement is visible on a board above Airtel’s logo outside a store in Mumbai (Photographer: Vishal Patel/Bloomberg)

Does Reliance Jio Live Up To Its Promise Of Data-Giri?

Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance Jio is set to spark off a price war in the telecom sector by promising to offer data services at the cheapest rates across the world.

Reliance Jio will hit the markets on September 5 with free voice calling, free roaming, free messages and lower data tariffs, Ambani promised at Reliance Industries Ltd.’s annual general meeting on Thursday.

In fact, Reliance Jio clarified in a press release on Friday, that domestic voice calls will remain completely free of charge, and the data used for the making calls will not be deducted from the user’s data pack.

We Indians have come to appreciate and applaud Gandhigiri. Now we can all do ‘Data-giri’, which is an opportunity for every Indian to do unlimited good things, with unlimited data.
Mukesh Ambani, Chairman and MD, RIL

But are Jio’s data plans really that good?

Finding the Sweet Spot

BloombergQuint’s Aayush Ailawadi analysed a host of plans available in the market and found that while Jio’s high-end data packages are a lot cheaper than those offered by its competitors, its beginner’s plan does not offer great “bang for the buck”.

Romal Shetty, head of telecom practice at KPMG agreed. Shetty pointed out that Jio’s minimum data pack which offers 0.3 gigabytes for Rs 149 may not be a great buy. If a customer throws in another Rs 50, they could get access to 1 gigabyte of data for Rs 200, which is the average industry price, he said.

On the other hand, if a customer wants to buy a medium sized data plan, Reliance Jio is a clear winner. Jio will offer 4 gigabytes of data for Rs 499 with 100 free messages per day and free voice calling. Airtel and Vodafone, on the other hand, offer the same 4 gigabytes for Rs 750, without any additional benefits.

The Customer’s Verdict

Reliance has manged to win over many customers who have tried Jio’s services so far. While some trial Jio customers were impressed by the high speed of data service, others are excited by Ambani’s offer of free services till December 31. The verdict is not unanimous with some customers pointing to service glitches faced in the early days.