Jio, the company that disrupted the telecom sector with its 4G plans at unbelievable rates and gave the common man access to super-fast internet, has now entered the broadband market with its Jio Giga fibre which brings you superfast internet via optical fibre cables. It couples this with a Jio set-top box which provides you with live TV channels. All of this sounds good considering the price and it sure seems like a good deal, but is it? and how does it fare against its competitor: Airtel Xstream? Let’s find out
The plans start from INR 699/month and go up to INR 8499/month. The minimum speed available is 100mbps and the max being 1gbps. The plans have a data caps or FUP ranging from 100GB/month to 5000GB/month but in case you run out of data, the speed would drop to 1mbps or you can buy a booster. You get a wifi router and a set-top box with the welcome offer along with free data. The installation charges are 1500 security deposit(refundable) and 1000 installation charges(non-refundable.) The plans come with subscriptions to OTT apps like Hotstar, sony liv etc.
Jio’s biggest competitor is currently Airtel Xstream. The Plans start from INR 799 per month with a speed of 100 Mbps and a data cap of 150GB and go up to INR 3999 per month for 1gbps speed and unlimited data. It should be noted that you can make any plan to have unlimited data by paying a fee of INR 299. Starting from the INR 999 pack which comes with 200mbps speed and 300GB data cap, additional benefits like 3 months of Netflix, a year of Amazon Prime Videos, Airtel Xstream app and Zee5 subscription at no extra cost are provided. All of this is under the Airtel Thank you programme and roughly saves you INR 950 every month on OTT apps whereas the Jio saves you around INR 228 per month only. The Airtel Xstream app subscription is also better than the Jio Tv+ app for watching daily shows as it has more choices and channels. Overall the Airtel Xstream Provides better OTT apps and saves you a lot more money compared to the Jio Fibre. But the plans on the Jio Fibre are comparatively cheaper.
The hardware includes a set-top box and a wifi router. The wifi router is dual band and has a very high range and at the back, it sports 3-gigabit ethernet ports along with a telephone jack. A telephone number is provided and can be connected to the jack for landline services. The4K set-top box is low profile and has an ethernet jack at the back along with an HDMI out port. It has a single LED at the front just like the router. It’s based on android and comes with a Bluetooth remote. The remote is plasticky but gets the job done.
The biggest difference between the Jio Fibre and the Airtel Xstream’s hardware offering is the inclusion of a set-top box along with a WIFI router in the Jio Fibre and not with the Airtel Xstream which only comes with a WIFI router. The Jio Fibre plans include a 4K set-top box which can be connected to your TV whereas incase of the Airtel Xstream, there are no such plan inclusive options, however, you can purchase an Airtel Xstream stick which is essentially a streaming device for INR 4,999 or you could get the Airtel Xstream box which is a hybrid smart set-top box requiring a DTH connection at INR 2249. The DTH connection and TV plans cost extra.
The Jio Fibre offers you cheaper TV-watching options without the need of getting an additional DTH connection but the channels are limited and surfing the channel is as not as smooth as in DTH.
The internet connection is solid with no speed drops and has low latency. The 5ghz bandwidth gives you almost ethernet-like speeds. The set-top box, however, has some issues. A fact that is not very openly disclosed is that the set-top box runs of wifi and uses the data quota that you have for normal internet usage.
There is no separate quota for it. With its streaming in HD, you can use up a lot of your available data. As for the channels, you rely on the live channels that are available on the OTT apps like Hotstar and sony liv and Voot. There is no channel number navigation system like DTH thus making the switching of channels tedious.
The set-top box is based on Android and is very buggy. Content tends to buffer even with a speed of 250mbps. The UI is a bit laggy and stutters a bit. Audio quality is good and is transmitted via an HDMI cable along with the display. The channel selection is low and not all channels are available in HD but are constantly updated. You can also watch youtube on it too. A user quoted “The TV services are good, but the execution needs a bit polishing.”
The Jio Giga fibre is a great fibre broadband connection with excellent reliability and decently priced plans and offers a better-included TV watching solution than it’s competitors but the TV watching is currently very rough and is still in need of some polishing. Future additions like Jio First Day First show which promises to bring theatre released movies to your home on the very same day!