Why Reliance JioFiber is not the game-changer that we made it out to be

Reliance JioFiber plans start from Rs 699 per month. Giga Fiber was an ambitious project but at the moment the speeds of 1Gbps are a bit of an overkill. The proposition of a free 4KTV too may not be enough to entice new customers.

Why Reliance JioFiber is not the game-changer that we made it out to be

For the last couple of years, there has been a lot of chatter regarding Reliance Jio entering the broadband and DTH segment and it was expected that it would shake up the segment as it did with mobile internet and telephony. On September 5, Mukesh Ambani-lead Reliance Jio finally announced its plans for its JioFiber and we think that it is not the game-changer that it was expected to be.

Reliance had first announced about its Jio GigaFiber service in its 2018 Annual General Meeting (AGM). At that time it had also announced Jio GigaFiber preview offer in the select cities. To avail this offer, people had to pay a security deposit of Rs 2500. They did not have to pay any monthly fee and will also get to enjoy free internet services two months after the launch.

The pricing for the Reliance JioFiber starts at Rs 699 per month. This plan is called the Bronze plan and with this one gets 100GB data plus 50GB extra at 100Mbps speeds along with three months access to JioCinema and JioSaavn for free. Under the Silver plan of Rs 849 bundles users get 200GB data plus 200GB extra at the speed of 100Mbps. In this plan as well users get three months subscription to JioCinema and JioSaavn.

With the Reliance JioFiber Gold plan users get speed of up to 250Mbps and 500GB data plus 250GB extra. The Diamond JioFiber plan, on the other hand, offers 1250GB data and additional 250GB data at 250Mbps. The JioFiber Gold and Diamond plans are priced at Rs 1,299 and Rs 2,499 per month respectively and with these one gets an annual subscription to JioCinema and JioSaavn apps.

Comparison with Airtel

In contrast, Airtel is offering four plans – Basic, Entertainment, Premium, VIP. The Basic plan costs Rs 799 per month and in that users can get speed of up to 40Mbps speeds with 100GB of data and 200GB of bonus data. In this plan, Airtel is offering a subscription of Airtel Xstream service complimentary. Under the Entertainment plan, a user has to shell out Rs 1,099 per month and they get 300GB data at up to 100Mbps speeds plus 500GB bonus data. Subscribers of this plan also get free access to Amazon Prime, Netflix, Zee5 Premium, and Airtel Xstream.

Airtel Broadband’s Premium plan offers speeds up to 300Mbps at a monthly rental of Rs 1599 and 600GB data. There is 1000GB of bonus data available. The VIP plan is available for Rs 1,999 per month and it offers unlimited data at speeds up to 100Mbps. In both these plan free access to OTT services is bundled in just like Airtel Entertainment plan. In addition, all plans bundle free unlimited local and STD calls.

Why Reliance JioFiber is not a game-changer?

According to Rahul Sharma, who has spent over a decade in Indian telecom space, “Reliance Jio is late to the party by almost three years. When they had announced about quad-play and Jio Fiber, it was revolutionary but they are late in the market by at least three years”.

In the meantime, Airtel has managed to garner the maximum chunk of HNI market. In addition to this, there are teething problems that Reliance Jio is facing at the moment. Talking about the same, Alam Srinivas senior journalist and researcher (author of the book Ambani Vs Ambani: Storms in the Sea Winds) says, “The offer is restricted and may not be available everywhere at the moment. Reliance Jio may need to tie up with many more cable companies for a national coverage”.

The Indian telecom market seems to have matured in the last five years and it is no longer as price-sensitive as it earlier. Consumers now are looking at the underlying value that any service brings to the table rather than just the cost per month. There was a time, when one would switch from one operator to another over a price difference of Rs 10 per month but now a consumer is looking at consistency in speed, the customer service offered along with the per month cost. This is why a lot of consumers will stick to their local broadband providers and not make a leap to JioFiber at the moment.

4K TV and freebie content

Reliance Jio is known to offer freebies with its launch offers and this time was no different. It is offering a 4K television set to the consumers with its JioFiber connection. However, there are several caveats. Firstly, there is no name to the brand of 4K TV that is being offered. Secondly, this TV will only be given to users that opt for an annual plan which in itself cost a whopping Rs 1,01,988. Finally, the whole debate regarding 4K TV and the lack of content to play on these TV is still as relevant as it was when these TV were first launched. There is hardly any content to be watched on 4K. What’s more, Jio’s own library of content is not as exhaustive as that of Netflix or Amazon Prime.

So on an overall, Reliance JioFiber might get a lukewarm response from the customers.  

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