A Pune based Indian correspondent – same person whose correspondence with me is shared in my recent post: “Are JioFiber offers/rumours for real? 100 Mbps speed for 100 GB data for Rs. 500 per month! Comparison with other vendor plans in India”, goo.gl/GwypHG – wrote the following (over email; slightly edited). I have given my answers below (slightly edited), within his questions:
Q 1. Did you check the Jio speed at your location before deciding to switch to this service? How does one check this without making a commitment? (No one I know seems to have a Jio connection in this area.)
Ravi Answer: As I had got reports of decent Jio 4G speed not only in Puttaparthi but in nearby places from two trusted sources, I was confident that my speed with Jio would be reasonable.
Now I had bought an unlocked USB dongle (which I should be able to use with any 3G/4G mobile Internet service provider SIM including BSNL 3G service of Puttaparthi). That essentially was a generic mobile Internet device purchase not limited to Jio.
So I thought my initial Jio trial expenses would be only the Jio SIM expense of around Rs. 100 and the cheapest Jio connection plan (Rs. 19/- for 1 day, http://www.jio.com/en-in/4g-plans). So I felt I need not go to the extent of asking my friend who has a dual SIM smartphone with one SIM being Jio, to come to my home for testing Jio speed in my home. I mean, I thought that worst case, I would only have made a bad investment of slightly more than Rs. 100, and I could still use the Jio SIM for any future 4G phone I bought.
I think I should also mention that I was told that official sellers/distributors for Airtel and so for Jio too, I guess, are willing to make a visit to a buyer’s location to check out signal reception quality. But they may want you to buy their company – Airtel/Jio (LOCKED) device (and NOT UNLOCKED device of other vendors).
Q 2. What sort of device do you use for your broadband at home? Does Jio provide one (or recommend one)?
Ravi Answer: I got a (used) UNLOCKED Huawei 3G/4G USB dongle through a computer seller/servicing person in Puttaparthi (named Sunny Sehgal, originally from Delhi). He is quite knowledgeable in such stuff and procured it for me using Amazon India or some other such site. He assured me the support for it and so I decided to go for it.
The Model of the dongle is E3276s-920. The official Huawei page for this model seems to be: http://consumer.huawei.com/in/support/mobile-broadband/dongles/e3276s-in-sup.htm.
This Amazon India link for “Huawei E3276 4G 3G Data Card Modem Speed 100mbps”, http://www.amazon.in/Huawei-E3276-Modem-Speed-100mbps/dp/B00NGFO1JC, is either the page from where my dongle was bought or similar to it. If I recall correctly, I paid around Rs. 2000/- for it.
Here’s a more descriptive link about its features: http://www.geekbuying.com/item/Unlocked-Huawei-E3276-E3276s-920-150Mbps-4G-LTE-TDD-Wireless-Modem-3G-HSPA—WCDMA-UMTS-SIM-Card-USB-Wifi-Dongle-337631.html.
About Jio devices: Yes, Jio not only provides the devices but recommends that you use them. Note that you cannot use the Jio provided devices with other vendors like Airtel or Vodafone (as it is LOCKED). Earlier when I was viewing Jio website, if I recall correctly, it showed a WiFi device and a USB dongle device which could be used for Internet access to computer (and other devices like smart phones, in case of WiFi device). Now I can see only the WiFi device on its website. Here’s the page: https://www.jio.com/shop/en-in/jiofi/p/491193576. Its price is around 2000. I don’t know what the bundled voice+data of Rs. 1999/- worth, exactly means.
Q 3. What commitment did you have to give to Jio on signing up? That is, three months, or advance payment, or whatever.
Ravi Answer: As I had an unlocked dongle which was not from Jio, the official Jio shop in Puttaparthi was not able to provide me the SIM. He directed me to another general mobile servicing & sales store in Puttaparthi.
There I got a package offer of around Rs. 550/- (or was it Rs. 500?) for the SIM and a Rs. 390 plan for 84 days 4G data speed till 1 GB/day. I had to provide my Aadhar number and provide my fingerprint on a small device they had to use the fingerprint for Aadhar verification. The shop service person also asked/confirmed my BSNL mobile number which got linked to Jio as I later got an SMS welcome message from Jio on it. Once these steps went through, the main formalities were over. I did not have to fill up or sign any paper form! That was a pleasant surprise.
The Jio mobile telephone number was written (not printed) on the package cover and the shop service person had also told me the number. She had already put the SIM card into my USB dongle which I had taken with me – she needed some slight guidance from me on that (I had read the details about the USB dongle from the above mentioned websites, including how to insert the SIM into the dongle). The main shopkeeper (probably her husband) who is reputed to be the very knowledgeable about mobiles guy, was not present in the shop then. [I was very happy to see the young lady do a pretty good job for my purchase and setup. I mean, it seems to be a young mom-and-pop kind of small mobile service shop run by a young local Andhra family. A young girl child was also in the shop then, playing around, and may be their daughter. Great to see this ability to adapt to & adopt new technology and make a living from selling and servicing it, from some young people of rural/semi-urban India. The lady did not seem to speak English but that did not come in the way of her doing an effective sales and setup task for me.]
After coming home I connected the USB dongle to the computer, had to go through an installation of an application that I was prompted to (seems to be on ROM on the dongle), and set jionet as the provider in some configuration property sheet (for which I was guided by Sunny Sehgal). Barring one issue I had due to some wrong configuration setting I made, that was it. I was onto Reliance Jio mobile Internet and could browse the Internet with it!
Registering with Jio portal to get usage and other info. was a straight forward affair.
So my total expenses for getting onto Jio were Rs. 2000 for the USB dongle for generic mobile 3G/4G Internet connectivity (not Jio 4G alone), and Rs. 550 (or Rs. 500) for SIM + 84 days 1 GB/day plan, i.e. a total cost of Rs. 2550 (or Rs. 2500).
Hope that helps.
Ravi added: One other query that I recall I had was:
Q 4. How many SIM cards can we buy (officially in India)?
Ravi answer: Earlier on, I was given the impression that we were limited to two SIM cards (by Indian govt.) But the shop service person where I got the Jio SIM package told me that we can officially get 9 SIM cards (now). Don’t know how valid that info. is.
Pune correspondent wrote (slightly edited):
Most helpful comments! Just the information I needed which no vendor will provide.
The nearest Jio vendor says Jio broadband is not yet available in Pune. I must find out if he means a wired link or a 4G connection.
Glad to have been of some help.
[Referring to Jio vendor comments:] Oh I see! Do keep me updated on this as and when you get more info. Today’s The Hindu has an interview of Tim Cook of Apple, “Apple poised for big steps in India: Tim Cook”, http://www.thehindu.com/sci-tech/technology/apple-poised-for-big-steps-in-india-tim-cook/article19452491.ece, where Tim Cook says, “Add to this how Reliance Jio has got their network up and running faster than any other carrier in the history of the world.”
So even Cook knows about the Jio impact on Indian 4G Internet sector. It would be pretty strange if some central parts of Pune are not being serviced by Jio 4G.