Reliance Jio has truly shaken up the Indian telecom sector. Ever since its entry, Jio has triggered an intense tariff war between all major telecom operators in the country.
Jio launched its Prime service a few weeks ago which offers existing subscribers the opportunity to continue with their daily unlimited data caps. As a result, all major operators have been forced to come up with new and updated plans offering unlimited data.
These ‘unlimited data’ plans seem extremely lucrative on first glance, but as the popular saying goes – the devil is in the details – all these plans have certain limitations which don’t seem very apparent initially.
Rs 345/month: 1GB 4G data/day and unlimited voice calls to any operator (validity of 28 days)
The catch here is that out of the 1GB daily data cap, only 500MB is available during the day and the rest 500MB can only be consumed between the unearthly hours of 3 and 5 am at night.
So the plan effectively offers just 500MB of daily data as unless you are an owl or a student up preparing for his exams, the 500MB data set for use between 3 and 5 am will definitely go waste.
Rs 346/month: 1GB 4G data/day and unlimited voice calls to any operator (validity of 28 days)
While this offer looks extremely attractive, it is not a permanent plan and is only on offer till March 15. Additionally, there is also a daily call cap of 300 calls alongside the 1GB/day limit.
Rs 303/month: 1GB 4G data per day till 31st March 2018 + free local/STD calls to any operator as well as unlimited SMS
Rs 499/month: 2GB 4G data per day till 31st March 2018 + free local/STD calls to any operator as well as unlimited SMS
The catch with both of Jio’s plan (and a big one at that) is the fact that these plans are only available for Jio Prime users. A Jio customer can opt for Prime only if he got his SIM activated on or before 31st March 2017.
These plans with a daily data cap do not give users the freedom to use their data limit as they wish
After that day, no Jio user, existing or new can even dream of opting for these attractive offers. On top of all that, there is also a Rs 99 one-time entry fees that a Jio customer needs to pay to get upgraded to Prime.
If someone forgets to activate Prime before 31st March, or buys a new Jio SIM after that, the data plans for non Prime users are fairly mediocre at best:
Rs 303/month: 2.5GB 4G data + free local/STD calls to any operator + unlimited SMS
Rs 499/month: 5GB 4G data + free local/STD calls to any operator + unlimited SMS
Reliance Jio also suffers from another major limitation. As it only offers 4G VoLTE services, Jio cannot be used on 2G and 3G devices. Even 4G devices that do not support VoLTE cannot use Jio’s network for voice calls. One has to download a separate application just to make calls!
Rs 345/month: 500MB 4G data daily + unlimited voice calls to any operator
Idea’s offer on paper sounds very promising (14GB of data/month at just over 300 bucks!). But in actuality, it offers just 500MB 4G data/day. For regular use like web browsing and checking mails, that data cap is fine, but throw in a few YouTube videos and songs from Gaana, and 500MB data will disappear quite rapidly.
And if a person wants to stream a cricket or football match, or just kick back and watch a movie from Netflix on his/her mobile, the 500MB data cap will become a huge bottleneck.
The daily data cap conundrum
These plans do not give users the freedom to use their data limit as they wish. In a regular plan, users, if they wish to, can use just 100MB of their data limit in a week, and then consume 2 GB in one go.
This kind of freedom is missing in these ‘unlimited’ plans with daily data caps and is a major problem in the author’s opinion.
Such plans are fine for users who have a decent Wi-Fi connection at home and rarely use their 4G data for media consumption. For those however, who are dependent on their data connection for YouTube, TV and sports streaming, these plans do not make sense.
While this daily data cap problem is applicable to all operators, it effects Idea and Airtel users the most as their effective daily data usage is restricted to just 500MB/day.