I have been a loyal Reliance customer since 2010, that’s when I bought Reliance NetConnect+ and I have been hooked to Reliance’s wireless internet service ever since. I upgraded from Reliance NetConnect+ to Reliance Pro 3 then finally to Reliance 4G Wi-Pod. Unfortunately this positive alliance came to an abrupt end after I upgraded to Reliance 4G Wi-Pod, read on to know why.
Reliance 4G Wi-Pod Upgrade Process
Before the review, I would like to mention how Reliance handled the 4G upgrade process in the most unprofessional manner.
- No Prior Notice: I was never informed that Reliance CDMA service will be discontinued or will be adversely effected during the 4G upgrade process. I received several emails/calls about the upcoming 4G service asking me to make a switch but not once it was mentioned that the current CDMA service will be discontinued or phased out or will be affected during this process.
- 4G Sim Card Shipped Without Approval: I kept getting calls from Reliance customer care asking me to switch to 4G. Even though I refused the offer, they couriered the 4G Sim Card to my address. I didn’t accept delivery the first time but they sent it again and I reluctantly took it. The sim card was provided free of cost.
- 4G Wi-Pod Shipped Without Approval: After receiving the sim card, within a week or so, I received an email from Reliance’s shop.rcom.co.in website that they have shipped the 4G Wi-Pod dongle. The email which I received appeared like I had created an account in shop.rcom.co.in, the username was my email id and password my Reliance Pro 3 number and with this account I presumably placed order for the Wi-Pod myself, the email started with “Thank you for placing your order…” and the email also mentioned that I would have to pay ₹899/- COD for the device, the last time I probably may have visited this site was a year ago to buy Reliance Pro 3. This was a WTF moment for me, I had assumed that if I don’t buy the 4G Wi-Pod dongle, I could continue using Reliance Pro 3 but now the Reliance team created an account in my name and placed order on my behalf without my consent, forcing me to buy the device.
- Wi-Pod Not Received & Reliance Pro 3 Not Working: Now it’s been couple of weeks since I received email about the Wi-Pod but didn’t get the device yet and I was happy about it but then Reliance Pro 3 stopped connecting and I had to rely on my phone’s Hotspot for internet connectivity.
- Unable To Buy 4G Wi-Pod: Since there was no word on the Wi-Pod dongle, I decided to actually place an order this time because I realized that I won’t be able to use Reliance Pro 3 for a long time anyway as Reliance will be switching from CDMA to GSM. So I visited shop.rcom.in and tried to log in with the account details provided in the prior email but got error, tried resetting password and again tried to log in, again got error. Called customer care they said they can’t help with this, then received a call from a customer care representative and she was very helpful and asked me to send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Emailed the details and then after few days received an sms with tracking details of the Wi-Pod sent through Blue Dart with COD.
- No Idea On 4G Data Plan/Pricing: Now that it was confirmed that I will receive the 4G Wi-Pod, I started scouring the net to know about the 4G Data Plan. On Reliance’s official site the 4G data plans shows ₹1/- for 10GB 4G data with a validity of 30 days, this is obviously a one month promotional offer for those who are upgrading to the 4G but didn’t find pricing information for post the promotional period. The best guess was that the data plans/pricing would be similar to what Airtel, Vodafone, etc are providing for their 4G Internet and this obviously wouldn’t workout for me due to the high price and low data limit.
Reliance 4G Wi-Pod Review
The device looks really sleek, don’t judge by the low quality photo I took, the device looks really good in hand. It’s small enough to be easily carried around in pocket. The device is quite light in weight but well built, the back cover is removable and so is the battery which is a good thing as it can be replaced if needed.
The front of the device has basically 3 types of indicators:
- Connectivity Indicator: The top houses the connectivity indicator which shows whether there is a 4G signal, data activity, Wi-Fi status and WPS. These only light up for few seconds when powered on, after which the power button needs to be pressed again to light them up.
- Power Indicator: When in use the Power button blinks regularly.
- Battery Indicator: When the device is running on battery, the battery indicator only lights up when the power button is pressed. When the device is charging the battery indicator is always lit either showing a charging animation or fully charged status.
The battery performance is good. I was able to get around 12 hours of continuous but moderate internet usage. There is no heating issue when in use or when charging. the back is always cool and front top area gets slightly warm but it’s barely noticeable. Heating issue is one of my concerns with wireless devices, Reliance’s NetConnect+ and Pro 3 used to get really hot especially during the summer season but fortunately the Wi-Pod doesn’t have these issues.
After powering on, it takes like 20 seconds for the device to connect to the net. Performance is top notch, I am able to watch HD/720p YouTube videos without any buffering. On Reliance Pro 3, I could only watch up to 360p videos and that too with some initial buffering. Download speed is amazing, I was able to download a 639 MB Video in 3 Minutes & another 884 MB Video in 5 Minutes from iTunes.
Regular usage like browsing is smooth, I never faced any disconnection or slow down during extended usage.
Tested the speed in SpeedOf.me website and the download speed is 16.99 Mbps while upload speed is 1.12 Mbps.
Compare this to Vodafone 3G where download speed is 4.36 Mbps and upload speed is 1.14 Mbps.
No Network Issues: I have been using the device for less than a month and I have had 3 days when there was no signal, the 4G indicator would be stuck at red. This happened once when I was writing this review, the device was connected and was working fine, I switched it off for few minutes and when I powered it on again, it wouldn’t connect and it didn’t connect for the next 2 days. If the network is unavailable then it will remain unavailable for at least 24 hours, what happens is that I power on the Wi-Pod in the morning and if the network signal shows red and doesn’t change to green then it’s guaranteed that the Wi-Pod won’t connect for the next 24 hours.
Mislead Me On Data Plan & Billed Me ₹8700: I only used Reliance 4G Wi-Pod for 20 days and ended up paying a bill of ₹8700/-. As I mentioned earlier there was no clear idea of what the data plan will be, when I inquired about this with a customer rep, she told me to email email@example.com to get that information.
I emailed them the following:
The reply I got was as follows:
Since I specifically asked him what my data plan will be and he mentioned this 25GB data plan, I assumed this is what I will be getting, it did seem too good to be true but I assumed this special data plan was for those who were upgrading from CDMA.
Now if this moron Prasad Mohare had communicated to me clearly that he doesn’t know what my data plan will be or provided me a list of data plans available and asked me to choose one, then this moron who is writing this review would not have been cheated of ₹8700/-. The data plan I actually got was Postpaid 5GB Plan for ₹999/-, my data usage had reached around 16 GB for which I was charged ₹8700/-.
Another reason why I couldn’t foresee this was that after I began using Reliance 4G when I logged into my Reliance account it didn’t show my 4G data plan or my 4G bill, my account only showed my old Reliance Pro 3 plan and bill, it was only about 5 days before billing date when I logged in was I able to see the 4G bill.
After knowing about the bill, I had a live chat with a customer rep and he said he will escalate my issue but when I asked him to give me a ticket number or complaint reference id, he declined to give it, which was basically saying “we are not even going to bother looking into your issue”. So I paid the bill and then requested for deactivation of the 4G connection and switched to Tata Photon. Reliance’s service during the last 3 months had been really frustrating and now with this bill and poor customer support I decided to call it quits.
I am not the only one who got duped this way, I have read similar cases in consumer forums and it appears that Reliance is shamelessly and intentionally cheating their customers by promising them that their data plans will remain the same but on upgrading to 4G, their data plan is switched to Postpaid 5GB plan without notifying the customer, the unsuspecting customer only realize this when they see the monthly bill.
I have been a happy Reliance Wireless Internet customer for about 5 years. I used Reliance NetConnect+ for about 4 years then Reliance NetConnect+ service started deteriorating then I switched to Reliance Pro 3 which provided true unlimited data plan for ₹1143/-. I used Reliance Pro 3 for a year and was really happy with the service, unfortunately Reliance decided to abandon CDMA and I reluctantly upgraded to Reliance 4G.
All the good will I had towards Reliance is lost now, after upgrading to their 4G service. I have a major gripe on how unprofessionally Reliance handled the 4G transition as well as the lack of proper customer support during this period and especially how they are intentionally cheating the customers who upgrade to their 4G service.
If you are interested in buying Reliance 4G Wi-Pod and find the data plans to be affordable and practical then I will say go ahead because I was definitely impressed with the performance.
If you want an affordable and practical high speed wireless data plan then I would suggest going with Tata Photon Postpaid plan where you get 25GB Unlimited Plan for ₹1499/- and the speed you get depends on your location, if you live in the city then you will get a download speed between 6.2 Mbps – 9.8 Mbps, if you live in suburbs like me then a download speed of 3.1 Mbps which is definitely fine for me.