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Jio + OnePlus One = 💔

I have finally got my hands on a Reliance Jio SIM card. I've been using it for the last 2 weeks now. My experience was a mixture of yay and eh what. Let me tell you about it; so you can decide whether to grab a Jio connection for your non-VoLTE phone.

Getting the Connection

I went to the only Reliance Digital Xpress Mini store in our town. The guy there wasn't very friendly. He angrily told me that no SIM cards were available and none will be available for the next 5 days. So I was forced to look for other ways to get a the connection. Luckily my friend +Debjyoti Sarkar knew a distributor. The registration process was hassle free. All I had to bring was my Aadhaar number and the code generated in the MyJio app. The distributor sampled my fingerprint and the system matched them with Aadhaar database. That's it! I got my Jio connection. And by the way, the SIM card comes in a cool little paper pouch with some stickers!

Activation

My SIM card got activated in hours! I started getting signal within minutes of getting the SIM card. But wasn't able to place calls. I waited for a few hours, but my connection still wasn't activated. I registered in the Jio4GVoice app and surprisingly my number got activated. I was ready for the Jio Digital Life experience 😁

Internet Quality

So what do you do after getting the oh-so-hype Jio connection? Speed test! Of course. I was getting an average of 8 - 9 Mbps. It maxed out and 19Mbps. The network coverage wasn't that great. Had 2 - 3 signal bars. Impressive data speed with such not-so-optimal signal strength.

Ookla speedtest result
Speed Test Result (First Night)

Call Quality

Calls within the Jio network connect instantly. You dial a number and the other phone starts ringing. No more beeps. Since Jio uses VoLTE, call quality was great. Voice was life-like. It seems weird at first, but you get used to it. The Point of Interconnection issue is real. Calls don't get easily connected to other network providers and vice verse. The worse was performed by BSNL. I wasn't able to call my BSNL number. Though I was able to receive calls from BSNL numbers.

The Jio Ecosystem

Jio brings an bevyof apps with its 4G network. These include Live TV, mobile wallet, On-demand movies, magazines and music streaming service. Somewhat like the carriers in the USA. These services work great... for a beta service. What's cool is that you get these services for free as a Jio customer. They will continue to be free till 31st December 2017. Last Sunday I watched Spectre live on JioTV. The app worked fine, other than a few quirks. The HD channels didn't stream at 1080p. Many channels are missing. The movie collection isn't great. The music library isn't complete either. These services can't yet compete with the giants like Google Play, iTunes or Netflix. And the developers have taken some really poor UX decisions.

Issues on a Non-VoLTE Phone

Jio on a non-VoLTE phone is full of miseries. Here is a list of things to consider before you hop in.
  1. You need the Jio4GVoice app to make and receive calls
  2. Data connection has to be turned on, always
  3. If you have data connection and WiFi turned on at the same time, you're out of luck. The app won't detect the data connection. So no calls while you're connected to WiFi.
  4. Presumeably calls through the app will count against the data limit and you won't enjoy the unlimited calls offer
  5. Poor network coverage + always-on data connection = battery killer
All in all, if you are a early-adopter like I am, you'll have fun with Jio and its services. Even on a non-VoLTE device. I hope the shortcomings, quirks and bugs will be squashed before the service launches commercially. Since OnePlus said nothing about pushing VoLTE update to the OnePlus One and Cyanogen has stopped developing a full OS stack, sadly my non-VoLTE issues aren't disappearing till I get a new phone.

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