Is Reliance Jio's gain a loss for its users?
Is Reliance Jio's gain a loss for its users?Reuters

Reliance Jio has achieved yet another feat in a short duration of time. After announcing that it added 16 million users in less than a month, the new telco revealed that its user base now exceeds 24 million as on September 30. But the bigger question is whether its users should be worried or not.

Shortly after Jio revealed its user base of 16 million in less than a month from launching its service for all, complaints started pouring in about the inconsistency in the speed of 4G. TRAI also ranked Jio as the slowest internet carrier in India, but the company released a justification saying its users tested the speeds only after the speeds deteriorated after the daily FUP limit of 4GB.

Now that it has added millions of additional users, it raises concerns over Jio's much-lauded 4G speed, which is the primary reason for its users to join the network. But the fact remains unchanged that Jio is the world's largest data provider, putting behind giants like China Mobile and Vodafone Global.

According to the data revealed by a Reliance Industries' investor presentation, most of its users were from tier 2 cities in India. Gujarat and Telangana accounted for Jio's top two telecom circles with 1.5 million and 1.2 million users, respectively, the Economic Times reported. Surprisingly, cities like New Delhi and Mumbai are listed with the lowest number of Jio 4G users.

Jio's penetration in the tier 2 cities is not surprising as it is currently offering its 4G internet, calls and MyJio services for free till the year end, and possibly till March 2017. But telecom industry giants Airtel and Vodafone have a strong base with better coverage in tier 1 cities, making Jio's access limited with its unreliable call coverage.

After Gujarat and Telangana, Tamil Nadu comes in close at third with 1.1 million users, which is followed by Punjab, Delhi, Kerala, West Bengal and Assam in the same order.

Jio's free Welcome Offer worked well for its early success despite its shortcomings. On January 1, 2017, Jio's real plans kick in, which will require its current users to recharge in order to use the internet. Calls, however, are free on Jio's network, but due to insufficient interconnect points, users haven't been able to take full advantage. Once the calls connectivity issue is resolved, it will be perceived as the main service instead of being a backup number.