Reliance Jio users connected to Wi-Fi networks on average 8.2% of the time, which is well below India’s 29.8% average time, says a study from OpenSignal.
With the access to free 4G data services and relatively faster connections, Reliance Jio smartphone users are shunning Wifi. According to a study conducted by UK based OpenSingnal, during September to November 30, 2016, the three months period in which Jio has been available to the widespread public, its users connected to Wi-Fi networks on average 8.2% of the time, which is well below India’s 29.8% average time on Wi-Fi.
London headquartered, OpenSignal, which specialises in wireless coverage mapping with the help of crowd-sources data on carrier signal quality from users who have its consumer mobile application installed predicted these numbers on the basis of 70,000 Jio smartphone users who have joined the OpenSignal community, running millions of 4G availability, speed and latency tests.
“Wifi has become an important mobile technology in much of the world. Our recent Global State of Mobile Networks report shows that in 46 countries smartphone users spend more time connected to Wifi than they do to mobile data networks like 3G and 4G. But that’s not the case for Jio users, who almost seem to be deliberately shunning Wifi,” said the report.
“Looking at our data from September 1, 2016 to November 30, 2016 Jio users connected to Wifi networks on average 8.2% of the time. That’s well below India’s 29.8% average time on Wifi from our global report,” said the study.
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On the reason why Jio’s number is so low? The study suggests that one of the biggest drivers of Wifi usage on the smartphones is the cost of the mobile data. “If people have an expensive data plan, they tend to look for cheaper connections to offset thier mobile bill and in most cases Wifi is just the ticket. But what if a person get 4 GBs of 4G data daily for no additional charge as Jio users now receive. There’s not much incentive to seek out a Wifi link.”
According to the study, the another big factor in encouraging smartphone usage is performance. “Everything being equal, people tend to gravitate toward the fastest connections as services like video streaming perform better on high-bandwidth links. When confronted with slow 2G or 3G data connections, smartphone users will hunt for Wifi to improve their data experience. But in Jio’s case it has no 2G or 3G networks. Also, Wifi is only good as the broadband link that serves it, and India’s average broadband speeds are the slowest in Asia,” said the report, adding that since Jio’s users are by default contending with 4G networks only, they have little incentive to seek out Wifi, especially if those Wifi connections might turn out slower than LTE.
It’s only been a few months since Reliance Jio launched its new LTE-only mobile service, but it’s already causing quite the stir. Jio has tapped into a pent-up demand for inexpensive mobile data services, not just by offering extremely cheap plans, but also by throwing out an introductory offer that includes free 4G data for the remainder of 2016. It’s since extended that deal into the beginning of 2017, though it has started limiting customers to 1 GB a day.
Since September it has signed up 50 million customers and has triggered a price war among India’s established mobile operators.
Here’s how the major operators in India compared in Wifi usage:
Time on Wifi by operator
Tata DoCoMo 30.4%