Reliance Jio’s 4G services seem all set for a commercial launch in August, with thousands of users already on the preview service.
Now, along with Reliance Lyf brand smartphone, the preview offer has been extended to Samsung users as well with Apple iPhone users supposedly next on the list.
According to Reuters, at a recent earnings call, Reliance issued this statement, “The test program will be progressively upgraded into commercial operations in coming months.”
The interest in the service is clearly massive as Reliance Jio claims to have 1.5 million users on the network already. That’s a pretty big number for a service in beta, and one that has been restricted so far to Lyf branded smartphones.
Of course, for Reliance Jio 4G service to be a hit, the company will have to extend its services beyond Lyf phones. Convincing users to give up their smartphone for a Lyf phone won’t be that easy, especially iPhone and Samsung top-end users.
Even in the mid-budget and budget category, the smartphone competition has gotten tough, with some names like Xiaomi Redmi Note 3, LeEco Le 2, Moto G4 Plus offering smartphones with great specifications and performance. And most of these brands are making 4G VoLTE ready smartphones in India, supporting the right bands, making sure the devices are ready for Reliance Jio’s 4G launch. Chinese player Huawei, Indian manufacturer Intex, are all reportedly working with Reliance Jio to ensure 4G-ready devices.
The upcoming launch of Reliance Jio also explains the sudden boost in affordable 4G smartphones being announced by companies. Almost all phones are 4G VoLTE ready, which is a key feature of Reliance Jio.
Jio’s services will use Voice over LTE (Long Term Evolution) for voice calling services, offering much better quality and connectivity than the current technology. Also, Jio won’t have any 3G or 2G services on offer, unlike other players and will rely on LTE for its 4G services.
In the past, Reliance itself has said it will work with major smartphone manufacturers to “ensure and certify their phones for use on Jio network,” so clearly the company knows that Lyf won’t be the sole way to push its services forward.
With Jio, speed and bundling of unlimited data at affordable rates could be the deal clincher. In fact, even preview customers get 3 months of 4G data and other services totally free, which sounds like better than what other commercial players offer.
And if you look at the kind of speeds that Reliance Jio 4G is offering right now, this is a deal like no other. Our own speed tests have shown average download speeds of 15-18 Mbps in Delhi, which is a rarity on any mobile network.
Reliance also owns the largest spectrum bank in country, which puts it at an advantage. The company holds the 2300 Mhz spectrum across the country, the 800 Mhz spectrum in 10 circles and 1800 MHz spectrum in 6 circles and has invested a total of Rs 34,000 crores in this 4G service.
Reliance has been very clear that when it comes to its 4G services, it believes in creating ecosystem, around devices, apps, services. But clearly the interest in the Jio SIM shows that what people want is the actual 4G service.