Reliance Data Card(ZTE) Review

The frustrating series of unfortunate events that I had mentioned in my previous post have finally stopped and the project was a resounding success! If not for confidentiality reasons, I would have let the world know of a great deal of tips and tricks that they would probably come in a situation similar to mine, but more on that later.

[UPDATE : Dec 2008] : I have been using this connection for over a year and I dont see any major problems with this card or connection. I do not use NetBooster(since the proxy server goes down every now and then). But otherwise, the connection is pretty decent. If you are facing connection issues, please check your network signal strength.

I finally got myself a data card for mobile internet access. I was previously using my Nokia 3230 as a modem and was browsing through it, but it would be really frustrating at times when the connection would be active, but when there would be no response from the server. Then after that, I was using this BSNL broadband at my place which was very good, but it was shared with my room-mates and I found it difficult to use when I really needed it.

Getting a BSNL connection takes time, so I decided to get an Airtel Broadband connection and to my dismay, found that it wasn’t available at my location. So finally, after conducting some research on my own, found that the reliance data card was the best choice of the lot, being wireless, minimal setup and with the advantage of carrying it everywhere. While I have personally experienced a little improvement when using CDMA for data transfer versus GSM.. Hence I decided to go for a CDMA Data Card instead of a GSM data card, like the one offered by Airtel.

The available two choices were from Tata Indicom and the other from Reliance Communications. Though performance-wise, I found that both were the same, the delimiting factor being the strength of the network signal at your place of usage. Then I found a deal at Reliance that seemed good and went for it, I took a plan which had a one time payment of something around INR 9K for which I got a one year subscription of the Reliance NetConnect Service, with 1GB usage per month for a year and with the cost of the card being waived(more tariffs here). Initially I faced some problems with the account not being activated even after being assured by the salesperson at the Forum Branch, Bangalore. After more than a day of calling them(the branch, read below for Customer Service), they finally activated my account. The most disappointing thing about Reliance was that I could not connect to any of their support lines, getting a ‘busy’ tone even at 1:00 AM in the morning.

Then I found that the service kept getting disconnected even when the device could detect three ‘points’ of the signal, with 5 being full. I decided that I needed a powerful signal and hence I sat at another location which had four points and found that I could get decent connectivity at that location. The bottom-line now is that if you have a good signal, your connection will also be good, but if not, its as good as nothing. So check if you have a good signal using any cell-phone(borrow it from your friends!) before buying either of the cards.

One other feature I noticed is the NetBooster software by Venturi Wireless that is provided by Reliance.. I found this to be extremely effective. The software connects to its server which acts as a proxy for our connection, All content is routed through that proxy and depending on our settings, we can load pages much faster. It was interesting to see how they were doing it, If you select the “fastest” options for images, the images are manipulated at the proxy server and sent to the device at a very low quality, which obviously speeds up our download and lowers bandwidth consumption for un-necessary images. It also proclaims that it removes unwanted markup from HTML code, making it load faster without altering the layout of the page! Really very interesting to note! And I found that it was pretty effective too.

I am using the ZTE card model, Sierra and Huawei being the other two models available with Reliance. I doubt that they give us the option to choose though you get to choose if you want the USB external modem or the Data Card itself. I found the Data Card to be giving me around 6.5 to 7KB/sec download speed. The speed fluctuates going as high as 15KB per second but for the most of it hovering around the 7KB mark with four points of network.

I would recommend buying this to anyone who is in need of a “something-is-better-than-nothing” internet connection, though the advantages it offers, especially on the move far outweighs the other drawbacks such as latency and frequent disconnects.

41 thoughts on “Reliance Data Card(ZTE) Review”

  1. Thank you! 🙂 Airtel has a data card too, but currently it is priced at somewhere around 5K. I haven’t used it, so I cant comment on the speed, but I have found CDMA to be better at data transfer speeds while GSM feels better on the voice clarity.

  2. Hi,

    could you please let me know how to connect to the NetBooster server? I downloaded the s/w from the Reliance website and installed it but I just couldn’t connect to it yet. When I click on the settings, it just gives the link ‘netconnectbooster.reliancecommunications.co.in’ and doesn’t allow me to change to anything else. I’m at a dead-end since i’m not sure how to use this piece of s/w.

    Thanks in advance for your help.

  3. @shashi: The netbooster software can only be used when you are connected through the Reliance Card. Hence it will not work if you are connected through any other connection.

  4. Thiyag,
    I am having same probleme as Shashi has, afterall i am using reliance ZTE card only… Any suggetion please..
    Thanks and Regards

  5. @Yogis: The software works in that manner only, Why would you want to change it anyway. It works in this way, lets say you visit a site, it is proxied via the netbooster server which optimizes images etc. for delivery to your computer. It works for all websites incase you have misunderstood that it only works for the netbooster URL. The netbooster URL is the proxy for all other URLs.

  6. Hi,Information was really usefull,I have planned to go for reliance,as like of your experience initially I was using AIRTEL EDGE thru my 3230 mobile….

  7. Just womdering whats the max speed a reliance ZTE USB modem can offer. THe guy in reliance webworld in Form said that thought the company markets the product with speeds upto 153.6 KBPS, it is actually around 40 KBPS.

    When I actually used the device, it doesnt go over 20KBPS and that too for split second.
    I do see all the 5 lines of the link. Not sure if there is a problem with the device or connection is not strong enough.

  8. I agree with u about the network…I was getting download speeds of minimum 18-20 kbps in the first one month, but since last 4-5 days the netbooster service is not active (it says that the netbooster server cannot be detected) and which has landed me up in download speeds of about 1 kbps or even less without the netbooster. Upon repeated calls to the call centre no. their only reply was to uninstall and reinstall the netbooster software- which obviously did not work…Prospective buyers beware.

  9. @Piyush
    It is ~153 kbps, note the small ‘b’. It is kilo bits and not bytes, so the speeds that you are getting are pretty normal. The spike that you may have seen should have been your browser loading the file in the background when you were busy selecting the location to save the file, for example. 🙂 Thus showing a spike at the beginning, but gradually settling down to show the actual speed. And yes, lower signal affects the speed.

    @Rittick
    I just did a quick check and found that indeed the netbooster service was not running. But the line speed was decent enough as always. I am surprised by your complaint that your speed has dropped so drastically without netbooster, because the netbooster service only manipulates content, making it smaller to be sent out, like optimizing images at a lower quality and the like. It shouldnt reduce your speed directly as you have said. Speed should remain the same, while the amount of content you download will be affected since there is no optimization on the ‘content’ thus making you download the original unaltered content.

  10. i am using reliance datacard, i cannot send email from microsoft outlook. it shows spamhose as error. reliancehas no smtp. anyone has solution?

  11. Dear
    I would like to know the service centre for ZTE card for I need to replace the antena hub of the card which is right now broken. Kindly advice me for the same imm.

  12. i am facing problems with orkut site n others always network loose with this hub. Plz solve the problem asap……………….thanks n net booster always stop after some time

  13. i have recently applied 4 the reliance data card making me avail 2 months free unlimited surfing and downloading the people at the outlet tell u can get speeds upto 156 kbps but i am getting just 115 kbps and when i contact the people they say to do some stuffs regarding cookies in the internet explorer But with no avail it does not change and gettings download speed upto 10 kbps Its like hell Can anyone suggest some hep

  14. could u plz tell me hw to update the netbooster bcz m nt finding any option fr updating it and nt even any site

  15. RELIANCE NETCONNECT DATA CARD ( ZTE CDMA 1X – M880 USB DATA CARD ) “”””””””PLEASE DO NOT USE THIS CONNECTION “”””””””””””””IF YOU ARE LOOKING FOR DAILY PROBLEMS PLEASE VISIT RELIANCE WEB WORLD AND BUY A DATA CARD………..

  16. Hello, I just bought the Reliance CDMA ZTE Model 880 and my operating system is windows vista 32 bit… initially i was having troubles loading pages but after i stopped using netbooster the pages were able to load… but without netbooster my connection is slow.. the netbooster was working on first two days when i was able to open sites but it stopped working afterwards… all the driver softwares that i have are from reliance webworld.. they told me that the netbooster software is not compatible with my operating system and i should wait for the company to launch it or download another one from another company… i want to know if there is a version of netbooster compatible with my operating system.

  17. Outlook works pretty well with Reliance datacard.

    Only thing required is to configure your outlook properly for sending and recieving mail.
    and smtp server address or the incoming/outgoing server address doesn’t has to anything with datacard but only with your mail server.

  18. I have also taken Reliance data card and till now spent Rs. 5000 on the modem and on paying the bills extra. They had given me a white data card which was returned and also the executive said that many of them complain on its use and the cost and the accesbility. Instead of this i was replaced with a ZTE model which was an open piece. I requested for a close box , new piece but the executive said as ur piece was open and used he had to give me an open data card modem. I used that for around 3 months but always getting disconnected. After complaining, the guy says he will help me with it but as far as my experience is with reliance, Ambani was very true in what he said….karlo duniya apni mutthi mein…” Sabka maal apna mutthi mein”…
    I would request everyone not to ever go for any reliance data card…or reliance mobiles…they are utterly rubbish…
    I have invested so much on this data card instead i could get gold for me which would alteast be genuine with me.

  19. I have recently purchased Reliance Data Card. My experience has been horrible over the past one week. The sales guy who sold me the card didnt knew the difference between bits and bytes. I asked him several time wether the speed was in bits or bytes and I got the answer that it was BYTES. I fell for the trap and got the card.
    When I started using the internet, the max speed I could get was between 4-8 KBytes per sec. Upon calling the service desk , I was informed that the max speed I can expect is between 20-40 KBytes per sec. I have been using internet for past one week and have never experienced internet speed of above 4-8 KBytes per second.
    A simple ping to http://www.google.co.in takes anywhere between 0.5 to 1 seconds.

  20. i was using reliance zte data card.due to fraud bills i stopped useing it. now i want to use my zte datacard for using in tata indicom internet. however it can not be unlocked. i want to get the software for unlocking the zte datacard m315 for using in tataindicom.
    if any body hack on reliance using zte software or anysoftare to upgrade its software, so that i can subcribe for other cdma service on this card

    thanking you
    boby joseph

  21. i am using reliance netconnect usb device. after connecting to net he images are not showing me correctly. any one have solution?

  22. Hi,
    Please anybody can help me.Actualaly i purchased a reliance data card.I intalled the required software properly and did all the netwok settings also.But when i calls on *228 for activating the card,reply comes that ‘card could not be activated”.Please contact customer service *333.And when i called to *333,call not completed.So what can be the erason behind that.

  23. I am planning to buy a USB internet device. Just confused of which one to buy among Tata Indicom and Reliance. Though Reliance has an upper hand with More number of Towers.

  24. sir i am using your data card i face some problem the speed is not good,please send me the new version of net booster .so my data card works proper
    thanks
    rajinder singh
    9354526948
    please send mail urgent thanks

  25. NetBooster is not a pre-requisite for using this connection. Please check with Reliance Customer Care, I do not use NetBooster since my work involves Graphics and NetBooster alters the quality to reduce filesize before displaying it in your browser. For any other issues, contact Reliance Customer Care directly. Thanks.

  26. the net connect usb is good. but some its grapics where very bad. i am also facing this problum from last one week. plz tel me what can i do?

  27. I would suggest all of you to don’t buy the bull shit reliance data card
    Firtst I buy the reliance normal data card but it could not meet my speed necessities.So I decided to buy the broadband plus now also I am facing the same problem If you call the customer care why your speed is low they will tell you there is no problem instead of solving ur problm they will tell u to change ur pc or go to the service center and nothing will happen and the most &&$$## thing is the net booster.It never works it shows cannot detect the net booster server.I thing u should go for the tataindicom wifi or if possible go for the airtel broadband its the BEST

  28. i m using relaince 1X net connect…i just able to download at the rate 15-20kbps…hw to speed my net connect..

  29. could you please let me know how to connect to the NetBooster server? I downloaded the s/w from the Reliance website and installed it but I just couldn’t connect to it yet. When I click on the settings, it just gives the link ‘netconnectbooster.reliancecommunications.co.in’ and doesn’t allow me to change to anything else. I’m at a dead-end since i’m not sure how to use this piece of s/w.

  30. 7. Hi, your blog is very detail and concise. Phrases are heavy and strikes right away to readers. And, it exhibits a little compassion in some way. Totality the content material is compact.

  31. I am working in Bangalore. We have tested Reliance and tata photon broadband datacard in 3 places of Bangalore. I agree that Reliance datacard is good compare to other datacards.
    But don’t expect that speed what they offer 3.1Mbps. When you see in Reliance netconnect window it shows nearly 600kbps. But this is misguiding you. Actually if you compare this is also wrong. I have tested this datacard by downloading WinZip (18MB). During download I have opened Reliance netconnect window in one side and normal download window in other side. In normal download window also we can check speed (bottom of the window), so don’t use any testing software. Reliance netconnect window shows nearly 600kbps and normal download window shows it as 60kbps. For work comfortable like in office landline connection we need 126kbps. But 60kbps also okay, np. So, Reliance is cheating, what they have done in the nectconnect window software that normal download speed * 10. That means 60kbps * 10 ==> 600kpbs. It is ultra cheating. But if you compare to other datacard, the Reliance Datacard is toooo good. I am using it for remote connection of my office desktop and using 5GB plan. 5 GB plan is more than enough. Normally it won’t reach more than 2 GB. And also there is no frequent restarting of connection problem like in BSNL landline and tata photon.

    Another thing I want to add here is, if you are using datacard for remote office desktop connection at home. If you think you are going to use per day 8 hours then 5GB plan will come 34 days (maximum) (excluding other personal download). This is also I have tested and calculated. This is more than enough.

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