After many months of hushed rumours and leaks, Reliance Industries Chairman Mukesh Ambani finally took to the stage to commercially launch JioFiber. Yes, what we have known as GigaFiber for long will be commercially known as JioFiber. Okay, it may not have been a launch as most of the details are still in the dark, but it was more of a commercial unveiling where we got to know what someone can expect when he/she goes for a new JioFiber connection. The details given are more than enough to help someone make a decision.
While GigaFiber, err, JioFiber is still not clear with its plans and pricing, customers still have another broadband service with fiber network infrastructure - Airtel V-Fiber. Airtel has been recently ramping up the benefits, offering a free subscription to more third-party OTT platforms than before. Therefore, if you have been hunting for a broadband service lately, V-Fiber is one of the best options you can have at the moment.
Hang on. Both JioFiber and V-Fiber are compelling in their own ways. So which one should you opt for if you have to choose between the two?
Both use Fiber technology but which one has a faster network
So far, Jio GigaFiber has managed to pull off and maintain a lead over its rivals under the Preview offer in terms of service quality. And given what Jio promised for its base plans, it seems to be more bang-for-buck right now.
With Jio GigaFiber, subscribers are assured of minimum speeds of 100Mbps on the base plan. Ambani said in his keynote that Jio will offer various plans with speeds as minimum as 100Mbps and go all the way up to 1Gbps. And given that the base plan will cost Rs 700, this automatically puts Jio ahead of its rivals in terms of service quality.
Airtel, on the other hand, starts from speeds as low as 40Mbps for its base plan, which also happens cost Rs 799 per month. For speeds of at least 100Mbs, you will have shell out almost Rs 1,100 per month. Right now, Airtel mentions the data allotment and that is helpful while making a decision. Jio still offers no clarity as to how much data the base plan will offer.
Speed is fine but what about other features
At the AGM event, Reliance had a long list of features that accompanies the broadband service. For starters, the broadband service is part of JioFiber's subscription. JioFiber also includes the TV and fixed-line call service, both of which don't need any additional connection. Therefore, if you want a wholesome media package, Jio excels massively. For movie buffs, Jio said that it will offer a subscription to its Jio apps as well as to third-party OTT platforms. If the subscriber goes for the set-top box, he/she can also opt for the gaming services that will be hosted on the box itself, just like a gaming console. The box also supports Mixed Reality services such as MR shopping, VR movie watching and more. The box will also allow 4K streaming of TV channels. Plus, all domestic calls are free.
Airtel's V-Fiber in comparison is Spartan. As additional benefits, Airtel offers three months of Netflix subscription along with an annual Amazon Prime subscription, Zee5 subscription as well as Airtel TV Premium subscription. There's a facility for data rollover up to 6 months. However, these benefits are only available on high-end plans. Moreover, the Airtel doesn't include any TV service with V-Fiber. Subscribers do get unlimited calls via a landline connection. And that's all Airtel has to offer.
Pricing is key
This is where Reliance Jio has always a massive advantage and with JioFiber, this isn't changing. Now Jio hasn't announced the exact plans and hence it will be wrong to give a final verdict. However, the base plan starts from Rs 700 and it is known that network speed will be 100Mbps - something that no other rival offers at this price. We expect that with monthly plans around Rs 2,000 mark, subscribers will be able to get around 100GB data, 600 TV channels in HD or 4K, and free calls. The extra services such as games and Mixed Reality could be on a chargeable basis. Also, do keep in mind the extra price of the devices as well as installation charges.
Airtel, on the other hand, has a base plan at Rs 799 and this offers speeds of 40Mbps for a quota of 100GB data per month. Even the most high-end plans vary in data allotment and offer the #AirtelThanks benefits with subscriptions.
However, until Jio releases details of its JioFiber plans, it is advised to wait. Given that the market is competitive, Airtel will probably come up with its IPTV service and a feature-rich set-top box within a few months to try to gain some foothold in the market.