Reliance Jio has thrown India’s telecom market in frenzy. The 4G-only network which has dipped data costs to as low as Rs 50 per GB threatens to disrupt the subscriber base of major players like Airtel and Vodafone while throwing the smaller players under the bus through likely market consolidation.
Everyone with a 4G-enabled handset wants to get their hands on a new Reliance Jio SIM for the free for now 4G data services. But for those without a 4G phone, Chairman Mukesh Ambani was gracious enough to announce a price cut for Reliance’s portable Wi-Fi hotspot device, the Reliance JioFi, which might just be more useful than getting a Reliance Jio SIM card. Here’s all you need to know about the Reliance JioFi device and how it can bring your whole house online.
What is Reliance JioFi?
Reliance JioFi is a portable device that allows multiple devices to use Reliance Jio’s 4G data through a single SIM card that comes with it through a Wi-FI hotspot. The JioFi can connect up to 10 devices at a time - not just your phones, but any Wi-Fi enabled device including tablets, laptops and smart TVs to use the 4G internet. It’s a little device that means you can carry it in your pocket anywhere you go.
Interested? Here’s how you can buy the Reliance JioFi
The device is for sale at Reliance Digital and Reliance Digital Xpress Mini stores. To verify yourself as a genuine buyer, please to carry one photo ID proof, an address proof, and two passport size photographs. The salesperson will provide you with a form, fill in your details and submit..For activating the SIM card that comes with the device, you will have to call 180089011977 for verification over the phone. It’s just like buying any other SIM card, pretty standard.
JioFi – device price and tariff rollout
Reliance is offering the JioFi portable hotspot device at Rs. 1,999, down from Rs. 2,899. The 4G data services are free to use under company’s inaugural offer until December 31, 2016. The company has not yet revealed its tariff plans which will come into play for users from January 1 next year, but it’s likely to be the same as that for Jio SIM users.
Setting up a Reliance JioFi device
- The JioFi comes with a Jio 4G-enabled SIM card and the first thing to do it to insert it into the device. Just twitch open the hotspot’s back cover, remove the rechargeable battery and insert the SIM in the tray.
- Next, before you fix the battery and put back the cover, write down the SSID and password (next to the SIM tray), which is unique for each unit, to connect your devices in the next steps.
- The JioFi also comes with a charger. After you have the SIM in the device, just plug the device to the charger and let it gain some power backup before you are ready to use it.
- Finally, press and hold the power button on the top of the device to fire it up.
How to connect your devices to the JioFi
If you haven’t already activated your Reliance Jio SIM card at the time of purchase, then you need to either follow the steps sent by the company sent to your registered email, or simply televerify your details by calling 180089011977. Reliance claims the activation takes a few hours, but in some cases, it may take over a day. After activating the SIM, activate the VoLTE services to make phone calls over the internet by calling at the number 1977.
Next step is to simply enable Wi-Fi on the device you want to connect to the JioFi, look through the available connections for the SSID you had noted down earlier, tap on it, put in the password and connect. The device is now ready to use the Reliance Jio internet services. You can of course also use SIM card of other operators in the device, but no telecom provider is as cheap as Reliance Jio at the moment, and you may incur heavy data charges.
It is also advisable to change the SSID and password for proper security. For that, wait till you are connected to the Jio network, open the browser on your connected device and go to jiofi.local.html/ When the page prompts for username and password, type ‘admin’ in both fields. Next, change the SSID to a username of your choice and a secure - preferably alpha-numeric – password. That’s all folks, enjoy the free data services while it lasts and hope Reliance goes easy on its customers with its tariff plans which will come into effect starting next year.
Our hands-on experience of Reliance JioFi
After connecting to multiple devices, we noticed that the battery, in turn, the device, heats up a bit. We recommend not putting it your shirt pocket, though the heat is unlikely to cause any discomfort.
The 2300mAh battery of the JioFi, however, lasted for almost 12 hours on moderate usage, exceeding the 6-hour expectation Reliance had set.
On speed, it’s difficult to expect a similar experience for users throughout the country as the Reliance Jio network is still in its testing phase, but we got a consistent speed ranging between 10 and 24 Mbps. More importantly, there was no downtime in the internet service and the connections worked seamlessly with the JioFi.
On range, expect the device to fully cover a moderately spacious two-bedroom apartment. But for a house/office bigger than that, the JioFi might fall short on range especially if you place the device on one end.
All in all, the Reliance JioFi portable hotspot is a promising device and a decent investment, especially till Reliance offers free data to its existing and new users. But the consistency in data speeds can only be determined a few days after many more users are expected to join the Reliance Jio network. Starting next year, cheap data plans as expected from the company, coupled with the JioFi, can give telecom data providers a run for their money.