Saturday, June 2, 2007

Wireless Internet - Reliance Data Card

I travel a lot in India from Delhi to Lucknow to Dehradun and so I require a wireless Internet connection that I can use anytime from anywhere on my laptop. In India, unfortunately there are only 2 serious contenders; Reliance, or Tata. Both these companies provide wireless Data Cards that you can plug into your laptop and access the Internet. These cards use the CDMA2000 technology (mobile digital radio that transmits bits of data) . I have been using the Reliance Data Card for the last 6 months and here is my review.

I bought my Data Card in Delhi from a salesman who came to my home. He plugged the Data Card into his laptop's USB port and was happy to give a demo. On the other hand, Tata were also prepared to send a representative but wouldn't give a demo! As a general rule of thumb, NEVER BUY ANYTHING IN INDIA UNLESS YOU CAN HAVE A DEMO! There is virtually zero regulation in India when it comes to fraudulent practices or defective products (see also Aquaguard water purifier). So make sure they give you a demo!

During the demo, the Reliance Data Card was giving a speed of about 5kbps!!! Yes, I said 5kbps which is an absolute disgrace in this modern world! Tata is even slower! But, given the lack of choices, I finally decided to buy the data card for Rs.3,600 (USD 90). This is a non-refundable fee and the data card is yours to keep for life irrespective of whether you connect to Reliance. Of course, with this Data Card, you can only connect to Reliance.

The Data Card also allows you to make phone calls. More on this later.

Now as of writing (3 June 2007), there are 3 plans for you to choose from.
  • Freedom - Rs.650/month (USD 17) - 1GB download
  • Freedom Plus - Rs.900/month (USD 23) - 1.5GB download
  • Platinum - Rs.1500/month (USD 38) - Unlimited download.
So which one should you get? Let's do a little math. For the last 6 months, I have been averaging a speed of 3kbps! But for the sake of argument, let us assume you get lucky and get a speed of 5kbps. Now, 5kbps would allow you to download a mere 18mb in 1 hour! This is if you are downloading a file continuously for 1 hour. For casual-medium Internet browsing and file downloading, you would probably max out at about 50mb/day. Multiply that with 30 days in a month, and you get 1.5Gb(1500mb) download. Now personally, I use the internet a lot (about 7 hours per day) on my laptop and since I am getting a speed of only 2kbps, realistically I can not download more than 1GB. For these reasons, I would highly recommend the Freedom Plan. If you are a heavy user and will be using this data card in metropolitan areas like Delhi, then go for the Freedom Plus plan as you would get a better speed and so would be able to download more.

Now, download speed is a big problem. So, Reliance have recently introduced a new software called NetBooster to help you browse the Internet quicker. When you buy the Data Card, NetBooster will come with it. Basically, NetBooster increases your download speed by optimising the images that you automatically download when you surf the Internet. It reduces the quality of the images by duplicating some of the pixels so that you see a blurred image. This means that the image size is reduced and so is the download which allows you to view a webpage quickly. Without NetBooster, it would become unbearable to use this Reliance connection. When you buy the data card, the salesman will come to your home and install it for you. Make sure you ask the salesman (who delivers it) to test it in on your computer in front of you and show you how to turn on NetBooster.

You can also make phone calls and send sms to any phone in India. The voice quality is fuzzy but it does the job! Voice call charges do apply but I think you get some free sms. Ask the salesman for more information. By the way, you can not browse the internet and make calls or send sms at the same time. You must disconnect one to use the other.

Another thing that you must take note of is that in order to use the Reliance Data Card from anywhere in India, you must call Reliance Customer Service and ask them to turn on roaming. Yes I know it is stupid as most people that would buy this card would do roaming. But that is the way they have done it! So for example, if you buy the Data Card in Delhi, you cannot use it outside of the National Capital Region unless roaming is turned on.

One thing to be wary of is if the salesman offers you a discount on the rental plan!!!!! If he does, don't take his word!! To make sure, go to the Reliance website and check out their tarrifs. This is a common fraudulent practice among the salesmen in India!! My father has fallen prey to a salesman who claimed that there was 2 month free rent with the Data Card. Of course, when the bill arrived for Rs.850 after 1 month, my father was shocked and called Reliance Customer Service who said that no such deal was ever present. A complaint was registered but nothing has happened yet!

In conclusion, the Reliance Data Card is hopelessly slow with an uptime of only 90%! Compare that with the landline Airtel broadband in Delhi where I was getting an uptime of 99%! But, given the lack of Internet broadband connectivity outside of metropolitan areas in India and poor competition in the wireless market, Reliance is the best choice for wireless Internet access!

To see my other posts on Reliance, click here.

If you liked this article, click here to buy me a coffee!

51 comments:

mandakulutur said...

Nicely written info on wireless card. would be keen to know how the airtel wireless data card compares to reliance card

IG said...

Hi Alekh, your inputs about Reliance Wireless Data Card are very interesting and mostly correct. I am a Reliance Data Card user and would like to know how to turn on the Netbooster facility to accelerate download speed. Is it an application which you can download from some part of the reliance website or is it inbuild into the wireless software. Also are you using any specific DNS address (preferred and alternate) to accelerate the speed. Please post on your blog or reply to me in indranil_ganguly@yahoo.co.uk

Thanks & Regards

Shrinidhi Hande said...

useful review. Roaming is free or charged? I had an offer of free data card with my HP notebook but didn't opt for it. Reasons I'll be writing in my blog.

trangam said...

I had a Reliance Data Card and I just hate the sight of it now, if I see it. Gives me a lousy feeling even hearing about it or seeing its pictures anywhere. Its not worth it at all. If you hope to use it for anything but basic messaging.

Gopal Aggarwal said...

hi...

you have hit the target on some general aspects, like

1. NEVER BUY ANYTHING IN INDIA UNLESS YOU CAN HAVE A DEMO!

2.One thing to be wary of is if the salesman offers you a discount on the rental plan!!!!! If he does, don't take his word!! To make sure, go to the Reliance website and check out their tarrifs. This is a common fraudulent practice among the salesmen in India!!- this has happened to us re Bill payment of a private landline phone...be advised, that's it

regards
gopal1035@gmail.com
India

Vikram said...

Do not go for reliance net card. I opted for reliance internet connection in the month of march 2007 with Swift-70(750 Rs/Month for 70 hours) plan, later I requested to change my plan from swift-70 to FREEDOM plan(unlimited access during night hours). I received confirmation SMS from reliance saying your plan has been changed enjoy unlimted access. I did unlimited access for arround two months. reliace sent my bill of 2000Rs. When I called customer care and complained that why I recived 2000Rs bill when I have opted for FREEDOM at night plan ... he said .. you have never reuested for plan changed and nither we have sent you any confirmation SMS, I got shocked hearing such words from him. reliance realy sucks..

Ravi said...

Reliance services are very frustrated where its speed is damn slow. I can hardly connect to a site within 2 minutes and he is charging me 60Paisa per minute. Ridiculous services and planning to stop the services...

Some of my concerns:
1. If i stop using the datacard. Can Reliance takes this back..
2. Is there a way i can convert the datacard into broad band services connection
3. In short, Pls suggest ways where i can get out of this datacard in a cost-effective way

Partha Sarathy said...

Yea,

I just bought a reliance data card for 3500/- speed is just below 2kbps. They printed upto 150kbps in the pack and the reliance people I spoked with them promised 80kbps. It really a false statement. I used for more than a week still I couldn't able to login into Gtalk and stay connected for more than 15 mins. Yahoo works fine.
:(

Alekh said...

@ravi

1. If i stop using the datacard. Can Reliance takes this back.

Ans. No, unfortunately, the card is for you to keep and they will not take it back. However, you may want to consider selling it.

2. Is there a way i can convert the datacard into broad band services connection

Ans. No, again this is not possible due to the technical limitations. This is a data card that is based on the CDMA technology so using it for broadband is out of the question.

3. In short, Pls suggest ways where i can get out of this datacard in a cost-effective way

Ans. Unfortunately, there is not much you can do other than disconnect and opt for a different internet connection.

Mohan said...

Alekh, It is a nice article. From past 2 weeks problem of image blurring started. I was thinking about virus problem. Good to know that it is netbooster problem. Now I trun off netbooster and can view images properly. One thing I observed is I was earlier in Bangalore and speed was very low. Also depends on day or night. But right now in Hyderabad speed is better than that. Does this depend on number of users in the city?
Mohan

Alekh said...

@mohan

My experience with the data card tells me that it generally offers quicker speed in the city. Outside of metropolitan areas, the speed is too slow and it becomes impossible to check email and visit news websites.

I think, the number of users would also have an impact since I found that at certain times, I was getting a better speed than normal peak times.

prath said...

i m planning to go for the 12 month plan..USB Modem..Wat do u say guys?? i have to pay 8765 upfront..

prath said...

i m plannin to go for the 12 month plan..for USB Modem..hav to pay 8765 upfront..how is the connectivity in Mumbai?

Alekh said...

@prath

Remember that irrespective of where you live, you will still get low speed, most likely 1-5kbps (slower than dial-up). So, if you don't use the Internet much, then it might be a good choice. But, for frequent use, I would stay away from Reliance.

chandra said...

what about the phone calls from reliance

Ramesh Subramanian said...

Thanks! Very useful comments. I was considering buying the Tata V Card but I guess I'll just hold off on that.

munna_dude said...

hi all
good article...
but friends wt u do wid da 1-5kbps?
is it nessessary to buy this all?
so, friends dont tell about 1-5kbps... please suggest the people, about high speed.. it may usefull to others

goodluck
munna

Hafsa said...

Thank you.

How do I request a demo? Do I call them or just request one in the store?

Alekh said...

Hafsa,

I remember calling Reliance and asking for a demo. Of course, you can also go to their store, and ask for a demo there.

Alekh

Harsha said...

I'm not able to send the mails from Outlook when I'm connected thru Reliance Datacard. It gives an error
451 http://www.spamhaus.org/SBL/sbl.lasso?query=SBL53737.
when I went depth with this issue, I've realized no action taken from Reliance to remove the IPs that are being allocated dynamically from Spam list.
Check http://www.spamhaus.org/sbl/listings.lasso?isp=relianceada.com

Relianceinfo.com infected range

Extremely contaminated dynamic IP range. Two-thirds (2/3) of the IPs in 220.226.0.0/18 are also listed in XBL due to spam patterns. No rDNS. No response from Relianceinfo.com.

When these things will get fixed. Whom to contact ?

Bidyut said...

It's no good to go for Data card of such a low bandwidth ( max 5kbps)whether it is from Tata or Reliance. Today speed is the most important factor nor the volume of data.
Its better to use your mobile if it is so essential or else BSNL Broadband through landline connection is the best and cheapest.

adarsh said...

Really gr8 job Alekh for providing good info about reliance datacard. I will never go for reliance wireless internet connection.
Adarsh

candychip said...

Hi all,

thanks for the input.
Yes i have bought this crude device 2 months back ( he he even I am fooled) A sales person visited my place and I requested for a demo. but i didnt got any demo so i bought it without demo. device was delivered and than only I paid the amoount. and on the receipt i made him write 2 mnths free usage( scheme with laptop) believe me if this would not have been the scheme than i wouldnt have bought it. ( its HP which made me buy this device)
but than i had speed problem, connectivity problem, Image qualilty problem. i was promised that the minimum speed I will get is 115 K otherwise normal speed is 150k. i confirmed it again and again form sales person.
now my speed initially was less than 1k yes it was terrible than i had to use ping command while i use internet. but now i get average 2 k speed at times for a few seconds speed has gone up to 8 k. but while i download a file speed starts with 50-60 k and goes down to 8K within few seconds. now netbooster It was okay with me with poor bad quality of images but than i faced problem for image verification.
solution: i had emailed to customer care they have never sent a written reply to any of my email. they send a written email that a service enginer will contact you. and nothing happened. than finally once november first week after my repeated emails they adviced me to go to nearest webworld and fill termination form and terminate your account. i was happy that I am rescued fromthis devil. but web world said that termination of account can happen but refund is not possible. {what ajoke} refund is not in reliance policy. I was told that in a friendly chat with this guy in web world. and nothing can be done.

only write repeated emails and if you have more time than visit main branch in your city as in delhi its in pancheel. or if you have more spare time than you can seek consumer court help {search internet for consumer rights} i havent tried them and I havent heard of any case agaisnt reliance netconnect too.
But what i am opting is i will go for prepaid connection and use it only for second option at times.

Broad band connection. I have MTNL connection and I am quite happy with their service speed connectivity. once i got problem of connectivity and i wrote an email to the area GM( email searched form their site) and same day that problem was rectified. (and they called me for next couple of days whether I am getting any problem)you wont get any extra usage charged with MTNL and i guess they have cheap plans, my friends had opted for airtel broadband and when they saw my connection they also changed to MTNL(they find it better) i guess I will never ever in my life switch over to any private company connection in future.

But this reliance thing is my life worst experince. If company's of Reliance status do such petty activities than their is no reliance left in reliance name.
God protect all of us form such company's.( 21st century Devils)
S.Kumar

rupini said...

ammu
the information given was clear and good.. i had bought a huwaei net connect and had the 950 tariff plan at first for the 1st 3 months... now i have switched to the 600 freedom pack... but, wanted to know whether the freedom pack does a good job..

Ragu said...

Hi, Whatever you said is 100% true. I bought the reliance card for Rs. 6500 back in May 2006. Initially I was having freedom plan. Then for some reason, i changed to 20-20 hr plan. I got a bill of Rs. 4000 - 5000 for the month of september and october. Then, now I changed my plan to freedom. I think if somebody crosses 1 GB per month with reliance data card can easily place him in guiness record. I usually get around 1.8 Kbps to 2.5 kbps for any download. I must be the happiest person if it touches 3or 4 Kbps. I have never seen the speed touching 5kpbs since I bought the data card. However, on the positive side, reliance data is quite good for casual browsing, chatting and cheching emails.

aditya g said...

me got a bsnel broadband connection ....250 rs per month 1 gb download limit wid great speed .....itzzzz great to be wid bsnl or may be mtnl i metros dont go for any private operator

vivek said...

thx 2 u i cud start netbooster
obliged!

Vivek said...

Hi Alekh i bought my reliance USB Modem about 7months ago ,Reliance sales person said that i could access unlimited net for 2months ,i accessed net for i months then i have to go abroad with my family for 5months , when i returned and turned on my net and saw that it doesn't worked it reached to reliance office they said that you doesn't hav paid the because of which your connection has been cut off . I asked them that i haven't been using the net for several months , they asked me to pay the rental . Then i asked them for rental they said that it is Rs.2580 , i was shocked . then they suggested me to get an another connection on the same Modem for Rs. 1500 ,i agreed . and now thenew connection is going on and showing the speed of 230.4Kbps . and they even didn't gave me any software of Net Booster. So please suggest me what to do ? Pls repy me on my mail vivekrana2903@yahoo.com

Alekh said...

Hi Vivek,

You should have suspended or canceled the connection for 5 months before you went for holidays and then applied for a new connection again when you came back. But of course it is too late now...

Which plan are you on right now? You should be able to download Netbooster on the Reliance website. Alternatively, visit a Reliance Center and ask them to install it for you.

Alekh

saurabh said...

Hi Alekh,

Thank you soooo much for your article, and thanks to other Guys too...

I will never buy a data card, be it Reliance,Atel,TI, or be it anything...

I will spend 500 a month in cyber cafe , but will never buy a data card...

Let me know if the speed has increased in 2008, may be some modification...

I am located @ bangalore.

Thanks,

Saurabh

candychip said...

hello Saurabh,
Dont know about increase in speed.
well they still comit that speed as improved and its not same as it was earlier. but it is difficult to believe them until they give a demo on my own computer and agree in written for refund. i ahve my data card with me and i got my connection disconnected. but for those who do not have much net work, and need to check mails only. secondly its good for those who want to be show that they are more tech savvy. spending 500 bucks on cyber cafe will be much much cheaper then using net connet. even if u get 70 k speed in cyber cafe it will be around 35 times better than data card speed. so cyber cafe will take less time to do ur work than datacard.

It is my opinion now that if company doesnt provide 100% refund garuntee, is hiding some facts.
even they know once pepl try it they will ask for refund

Saurabh said...

Awesome,

Candychip agree with you.

Most of the work I do it from my office, but I just wanted to download some moovies, songs ,games and software.

Cyber Cafe speed is pretty poor to do these things, but we can check mails, or necessary information.

I saw the speed of the Tata Indicom wireless card, its PATHETIC.

Shawn said...

HI Guys,

This is Shawn from Chennai- i am going official trip to Pune on next week(1 month)- i plan to get Reliance data card- can you guys suggest me which is best plan and any roming charges will applicable?
add me at shawn_enrichit@yahoo.com

sibi said...

Hi friends, i like to take a wireless internet with the basic purpose of voice chat with G.talk, or ymsngr.So will the speed be adequate for a uninterruped and clear chat?..which is best reliance or tata ind?

Jinu said...

its ridiculous that a company like reliance can have a product like this.. in a city like bangalore.. there is no speed and it keeps getting disconnected frequently.. there are no word to describe this product... i have lost my Rs 3000 i paid for the data card.. so much for wireless internet!!! and the customer service is awful... they dont care.. and why will they.. it has made their owner one of the world's richest... my recommendation is to never buy this product... if u buy it.. be prepared to be miserable!!!

rastey said...

hi Alekh,
your inputs about Reliance wireless data card are very correct.
when i bought reliance data card images was good but after 2 wk they become blurred.i m having a problem of blurred image whenever i gt connected to internet. Netbooster is running but i think it's not increasing a little bit of speed....
please post on ur blog or reply to me on
juhi_blue@rediffmail.com

venkat said...

hi

i am planning to go for a wireless datacard.
can anyone suggest how is the best provider.

regards
venkat
vti.venkat@gmail.com

venkat said...

hi

i am planning to go for a wireless datacard.
can anyone suggest how is the best provider.

regards
venkat
vti.venkat@gmail.com

neha said...

poor technical support.u knw i got my net activated on my reliance cell..iwanted to connect ir through my laptop by using data cable but u know its not been started for whole month..i talked to custmer care n they were telling me to restart my laptop,again n again they were saying the same thing...there representative wouldnt came within 72 hrs..as per their comitment...they deducted my net charges rather i hadnt used that,coz of no connection wid laptop...n i got fed up of this...there are so many reliance web worlds n offices they could send their support even within one day...anywz they have poor technical support....

Uday said...

My wife started using Reliance data card from past 2 months. Initially the internet was working properly speed was not so great but it did the work. Last week for the first time we had an issue with connection then started our nightmare. There is only one person available at Reliance web world who know how it works and even that fellow gave wrong information to my wife that there is enough credit because of which our internet credit is over and it started using the main balance (price is way too expensive for 2hrs it deducted Rs:200/-) and after that internet stopped working. When we contact the same person at web world he was still insisting of enough credit and asking us to contact customer support. The customer support team are completely incompetent they don't even know what is the problem or how to answer the customer's queries. After one day of phone calls with support team we paid the bill and also took the data plan of 25hrs to use internet still we cannot connect to internet. After waiting for 4 days the team at reliance web world mentioned that 25hrs data plan is not properly charged and we need to wait for another 2 days. Been a week and even now we don't have any internet.

I have no hope that issue will be resolved anytime soon. I am not going to use Reliance anymore in future and I don't even think of recommending it to any other users either.

Saurabh said...

A good news for every one...

http://bsnlevdoclub.com/

and http://www.bsnl.co.in/newsdetailed.php?news_id=370

BSNL has launched EVDO INternet cards.. Check the above link...

This one is real good...

anu said...

Hello all. I am going to new delhi for about 30 days. I have a sony vaio with vista and built in bluetooth and wifi modem. So please tell me which one should I go for? I want to be able to access internet at a good speed, mainly for surfing and playing games doing emails.

Please respond fast as I am going early July

COOOLLLGUY said...

you all are lucky guys atleast you all get a speed of 1kbps.. you know i dont even get a speed of 1 kbps, leave their promise of 144 kbps, i get a speed of 144 bytes, pathetic n disgrace in this times, this forum was started in 2007 n its 2009 n the situation is more worst.
i purchased reliance data card as i was going to be admitted in the hospital for surgery for a longer period of time and as i would not be able to come out of hospital i was not having any option but to go for reliance data card, but when i was getting this speed i contacted the customer care and they replied me to download netbooster form reliance web site, but how can i.. i am admitted in the hospital and not able to go out, and with such a slow speed no website is opening n if at all it opens, its only for a few minutes so how can i download the net booster, but the customer care said he cant help and download netbooster..
a joke wen a site is not opening how can i download, since morning i am trying to download net booster and its evening now n stil not ablet to download netbooster..

pathetic, i think we need to do a satyagrah like gandhiji did.. boycot all reliance products.. they are really just sucking this country..
the reliance brothers are one of richest in world but not ever feature in top 100 tax payers in india.. do any one hav any answer..

Byomkesh said...

Can we use Smart phones with built in browising capability in india without using the data card?

Supriyo Bhattacharya said...

RELIANCE SUCKS! DON'T YOU GUYS THINK SO ? THEY R THE THE BEST CHEATERS IN INDIA WHETHER ITS ABOUT NETCONNECT OR MOBILE SERVICES, THEY HAVE CHEATED EVERYONE LIKE A PARASITE.SO BEWARE OF RELIANCE SERVICES AND PRODUCTS B'COZ THEY WON'T HESITATE TO BRING OUT THE LAST PENNY FROM UR ASS.

rajasekar said...

hey guys too easy to post your experience in a market where there is no alternative wireless internet connectivity possible.

Lets thank Reliance which has allowed us to stay connected.spectrum or band width is govt responsibility.

in India buyers are equally bad like sales guys

They have recently launched wireless data card which speeds up to 3.1 MBPS.practically MIN 500 kpbs to MAX 2.4 mbps.

these speeds are again area or city specific.

it is because of reliance we are the 6 th country to have this technology.lets stop taking only negatives

candychip said...

@raj
What you say means get a technology to cure cancer (cyber knife ) but instead of curing (removing cancer) kill ppl... and those who don't need this (those who are suffering frm cough) recommend it to them tell them u need it....and kill them too...
that is what Reliance is doing...
Name and fame Dhirubhai Ambani has earned... they are exploiting it IF you can get technology fast by paying money then you need to provide that support and tell the truth to customers...

@raj I hope u will stop diverting the topic... what we are discussing is lies misrepresentation of facts ... presale talks... and quality of support....they still dont provide good service...... so I am not going to do any kind of chumchagiri... reliance data card sucks and you are abusing all those unhappy users who have been committed something else and promises are not met... and you are proud of that...

See if this happens with any international citizen... what image he will take with him that indian companys are cheat? or india was 6th nation to get this tech?


come on grow up man....and see the flow of the topic.. and dont abuse indian consumers .....

all complaints are against wrong information... poor service... ignoring consumer...and you should be proud that reliance tops on this maybe world over....

well reliance in service and quality is 1st from bottom wordlover they only count howmuch they earn equity price...and thts it...

candychip said...

and man what do you mean by no alternative?

net on iphone works much faster if u compare it with reliance data card

speed is success

time is money

and reliance data card take away both from you

raj said...

Hii... Guys as i am also a user of relince data card and i think it is not a good idea to purchase it becoz as the plans of it is very high and the speed is very dull (7kb to 8 kb at night) and i dont thik that a person will pay 8oors to 1000rs for this type of speed in compare with it my cellphone with docomo sim with 48rs plan give more speed which is 15 to 16 kb per sec at night time so i dont think that using rim data card is a good idea.

Well come to princes of hart said...

hi
i am new in reliance. i want to buy reliance data card Rs. 750 unlimited plan. Thy promised up to 5gb download they gives 3.2 mbps speed and after that 144 kbps speed. rooming is free and any where of India they gives same speed. so i am not understand to buy this card or not.
please suggest me. urgent....

Reliance Broadband Review said...

http://reliancebroadbandreview.blogspot.in/
rELIANCE DATA CARD SUCKS .. DONT GO FOR IT