The commercial launch of Reliance Jio, which was expected to happen late this month or early next, has been pushed to the middle of next month, a distributor who works with the company said.
Early in January, the same distributor had said that the company was targeting to launch its services commercially “latest by March 1.”
“They are still fine tuning the network. Work is still going on,” he said, when asked about the progress on the launch.
The latest date now puts all launch date estimates — official and unofficial — in the same time frame. The company is on the record saying that the year starting from April 2016 will form its first “full year of commercial operations.”
This basically means that the launch cannot happen any later than April 1, and it is increasingly looking like the services will start only by that date.
The latest update is in addition to another rumor that says that the company will start its services in 13 cities initially, and then launch in other places.
The distributor quoted above was talking about the launch of services in his area, which does not fall within the 13 cities.
According to people who tested Jio’s network, the company is still ironing out problems with regard to its voice service.
Among the issues reportedly being ironed out include switching the subscriber to a partner network seamlessly when he or she is using a non-VoLTE enabled phone.
At present, Jio has a dual-strategy when it comes to dealing with such customers. If the customer has a strong data connection, Jio reroutes the call via its VoIP app, and if data connectivity is poor, it tries to switch the subscriber to its partners’ 2G or 3G network.
The operator is learnt to be optimizing the process of moving a subscriber from its 4G network to a partner network and vice versa in a smooth, and more importantly, quick fashion.
Another front where extensive testing is going on is ensuring compatibility with various handsets. Jio has a list of handsets that it recognizes as fully compatible with its network, and the network allows 4G voice services only on these.
It is also plugging last-minute holes in the network in an effort to have blanket and saturated coverage in urban areas.
Though voice is not the highlight of 4G services, Reliance Jio is keen on having a fully working voice service at launch.
The task of integrating 850 MHz high-penetration spectrum into its network is also work in progress, though it is not a show stopper.
Reliance Retail has stocked millions of handsets under the LYF brand, but sales are yet to start off in the earnest as no freebies can be given before the launch of the service.
Meanwhile, reports are indicating that users are getting between 3 to 55 Mbps of download speeds on the 4G network, which is currently undergoing testing and optimization.