Even India’s richest man is unable to quench the country’s need for speed.
Launched with much fanfare and promise of providing high speed internet via its future proof 4G LTE only network, Reliance Jio’s services are downgrading as more people get on board. While users have been complaining about slow on social media, now even Ookla, the Seattle-based company that makes the popular Speedtest.net app corroborates those clams.
According to data released by Ookla, Jio’s mean download speeds as measured by people who used the app to test internet speeds, has been declining since May. Jio had initially opened the network to only its employees in December last year but opened it to public via an employee referral program. It then allowed people who bought its LYF-branded smartphones on to its network and finally opened it to users of select smartphone brands.
By the end of August Jio had over two million beta testers and it commercially launched its services in September. The company promised it won’t charge for voice calls for life and also offered the cheapest internet plans. As a bonus, Jio announced a “Welcome Plan” that offered all services for free to users till Dec. 31, 2016. These services included unlimited voice calls, 4GB of internet every day, and a bouquet of streaming services including live tv, movies and music.
The offer was irresistible and people lined up in queues across the country in front of stores that offered Jio connections. However, the surge in users also degraded the experience. The mean download speeds among Reliance Jio subscribers last month were 8.77 Mbps from 11.31 Mbps in August, a drop of 23 percent according Ookla. The site saw over 8.2 million tests from Jio subscribers last month alone.
According to Ookla, even the top 10 percent of results saw the download needle go up to 17.77 Mbps last month.
At the time of launch, Reliance Industries Chairman Mukesh Ambani said that Jio was handling a monthly data usage of over 250 million GB during the test period. He had also announced that Jio would aim to reach 100 million subscribers in the shortest time but Ookla’s numbers suggest that could take some time.