How to get Jio SIM & 3-month free data offer

Crowd outside a Reliance Digital Express store to get Reliance Jio SIM cards in New Delhi, on Sept 5, 2016. Photo: Dalip Kumar
With free voice calls - for both local and roaming - and cheap data plans, Reliance Jio has unleashed a price war in the telecom sector. But how do you go about getting one, how do you install one, what devices are compatible, what is VoLTE... Read on to know all about Jio...

Reliance Industries caused a stir in the telecom industry when it made an announcement on September 1, during the company’s annual general meeting in Mumbai, offering free voice calls - both local and roaming - and data at cheap prices of Rs 25-50 per gigabyte (GB) through Reliance Jio Infocomm. On September 5, the fourth-generation mobile phone service was launched for public subscription. 

The Mukesh Ambani-promoted company promised consumers voice calls on Jio would always be free. It announced 10 data tariff plans, starting at Rs 19 a day for occasional users, to Rs 4,999 a month for heavy data users. The most popular is the Rs 149 a month plan for low-data users. At an average data price of Rs 50 per GB, the data plans are touted to be amongst the lowest in the world.

Supporting devices

Currently, the company has 1.5 million test users on its network. 

Jio started offering free SIM cards with LYF smartphone purchase through its sister unit Reliance Digital, Digital Mini & partner LYF smartphone dealers under early-access Jio Preview Offer (JPO). Just before the commercial launch, Jio also extended JPO to some high-end and mid-range Samsung smartphones. 

SIM cards availed through LYF smartphone purchases are locked in with the device. A user would not be able to avail unlimited data, calling and Jio apps, if the SIM is inserted into a different 4G phone. 

Under the partner preview, a Jio SIM can be used with any of the over 160 4G handsets authorised by the company. 

How to get a Jio connection?

Buying Reliance Retail’s Lyf range of phones is still the easiest way to get a new Jio SIM. Although the phones don’t get a glowing review, the cheapest model is available for as little as Rs 3,000. Combined with three months of free, unlimited internet access and calling, it isn’t a bad deal. 

Interested customers can also get a free Jio 4G preview SIM, if they have or purchase any one of the eligible handsets specified by the company. The user has to: 

1. Download & open MyJio app from the PlayStore
2. Tap on Get Jio SIM button on the banner
3. Tap on Agree & Get Jio offer
4. Select location from the drop down
5. Read through the steps and click on Next
6. Offer code/barcode generated can be viewed on the screen 
7. Show the barcode at a Reliance Digital store
8. Collect a Jio 4G SIM

Unfortunately, there was a ‘bug’ in the Jio app that allowed everyone with a 4G phone to generate the code. Reportedly, the bug has been fixed but stores are still hesitant, unless they are convinced otherwise.

Another easy way to get a Reliance Jio SIM is to get the JioFi portable WiFi hotspot router. The wireless compact router is available for Rs 2,899. 

How to activate a Reliance Jio 4G SIM

Customers with specified 4G-compatible phones can get a Jio SIM at a Reliance Digital store along with all the benefits, if they: 

1. Provide a valid photo ID 
2. Recent passport size photographs

It is important that the person on whose name is to be on the SIM is present at the dealership to sign the necessary applications and on the photocopies of the ID proofs. The Reliance Digital Xpress Mini stores are much more efficient about this process than the larger Reliance Digital stores.

After successfully purchasing the SIM, the user would need to:

1. Insert the SIM in an eligible phone
2. Get a confirmation message from Jio, asking for the tele-verification
3. Complete tele-verification to activate Jio SIM
4. To activate both the voice and data services, dial 1977 from the Jio number
5. Identity of the user can be confirmed by using the last four digits of the submitted identity; a Voter ID card or an Aadhaar card
6. For enabling of data, one needs to dial 1800-890-1977 toll-free number from the mobile number, as mentioned in the user’s Reliance Jio SIM form
7. Data services will get activated on entering the newly-purchased Jio mobile number
8. Post tele-verification and activation, the user would get 2GB of free 4G data, which, in time, will turn into an unlimited 4G plan

Although the SIM is supposed to get activated in one-two hours, in many cases, the SIM has taken up three-four days for activation. 

Cut the queue with Aadhaar

The formalities, including tele-verification of details, are currently taking more time than intended by the company, but within six weeks, all connections will be eKYC, and customers with an Aadhaar card will be able to walk out with a working connection in under 15 minutes. It is advisable that customers provide an Aadhaar card as photo ID proof.

The Indian Internet access and telecommunications is currently training its showroom staff to use fingerprint technology and thereby implementing Aadhaar’s eKYC process to help conduct verification process on the spot. The e-Aadhaar facility for Jio users will first go live in Delhi and Mumbai.

Jio deconstructed 

As part of Jio’s introductory offer, users will have access to unlimited LTE data and national voice, video and messaging services along with the full bouquet of Jio applications and content, free of cost up to December 31. 

Here’s a list of plans currently offered by Jio:

1. Plan Rs 19: 0.1GB + unlimited night usage + one-day validity
2. Plan Rs 129: 0.75 GB + unlimited night usage + seven-day validity
3. Plan Rs 149: 0.3GB + 100 messages + 28-day validity
4. Plan Rs 499: 4GB + voice and message unlimited + 8GB data through Jio-operated WiFi hotspots + unlimited night usage + 28-day validity
5. Plan Rs 999: 10GB + voice and message unlimited + 20GB data through Jio-operated WiFi hotspots + unlimited night usage + 28-day validity
6. Plan Rs 1,499: 20GB + voice and message unlimited + 40GB data through Jio-operated WiFi hotspots + unlimited night usage + 40-day validity
7. Plan Rs 2,499: 35GB + voice and message unlimited + 70GB data through Jio-operated WiFi hotspots + unlimited night usage + 28-day validity
8. Plan Rs 3,999: 60GB + voice and message unlimited + 120GB data through Jio-operated WiFi hotspots + unlimited night usage + 28-day validity
9. Plan Rs 4,999: 75GB + voice and message unlimited + 150GB data through Jio-operated WiFi hotspots + unlimited night usage + 28-day validity

Students will get 25 per cent more data for the same plan as other users and enterprise customers will be provided with customised solutions. 

Being the only operator in the country with a pan-India 4G licence, Jio’s highly competitive pricing, combined with free voice calling and SMS services bundled with the data tariff, has the potential to upset the voice tariffs and average revenue per user (ARPU) of existing operators. Industry experts have predicted that the announcement will result in price wars among telcos and users can expect cost of data going by a substantial 25-30 per cent. 

The telecom major is clearly hopeful about the volume play through an increase in data usage. But here is a catch. Based on the information offered so far by the company, other than Rs 19 per day tariff, the plans are not significantly different from what operators are currently offering. Most players have similar offerings currently. 

VoLTE face

While the free voice calls on the Jio network, even while roaming, is gaining a lot of press, the indication seems to be clear that the company is encouraging customers to get a real test of HD voice over Jio 4G network. And how does that bode for data usage is something that has not been explained so far. There is no information on how much data does a voice-over-LTE call use, and how will it be billed.

Voice calls over a 4G LTE network, rather than the 2G or 3G connections, VoLTE in theory does have superior call quality over 3G or 2G connections, a much richer experience. However, being a data-only networking technology, VoLTE was not meant to support voice calls. Also, both participants on the call need to have 4G coverage. So, if either party moves out of the coverage area during the call, there’s a chance that the call will be dropped.

Each data plan offered by Jio comes with a data quota. After the data is exhausted, customer will have to buy a top-up plan. But Jio is yet to announce any pay-as-you-go plan for data. So, in all likelihood, if a user ends up consuming the data before the validity ends, the data plan might not be as cost-effective as planned.

Value-add services

Reliance has designed its bouquet of services in addition to the voice calls, data and messaging to its Jio ecosystem. They include music, movies, magazines and live TV content, and app-based services worth Rs 15,000 crore, including security, chat and cloud storage. All the add-on services will be free for consumers till the end of 2017. 

Future plan

Currently, Jio’s 4G network covers 18,000 cities and towns and over two lakh villages. The firm has spent Rs 1.34 lakh crore in building Jio’s infrastructure. 

According to an official communiqué, Reliance Industries plans to cover 90 per cent of India’s population by March 2017. Reliance is also planning to roll out a fibre-to-home network of 1GBPS and also a multi-gigabit network for enterprise customers. This will initially be rolled out in big cities and then extended to the top 100 cities. 

Reliance is also starting a Rs 5,000-crore venture capital fund to finance and partner digital entrepreneurs in Indian towns and cities. The fund will disburse money over the next five years.

Devices supporting Jio

The complete list of smartphones is as follows:

LYF EARTH 1
LYF EARTH 2
LYF FLAME 1
LYF FLAME 2
LYF FLAME 3
LYF WIND 6
LYF FLAME 5
LYF FLAME 6
LYF FLAME 7
LYF FLAME 8
LYF WATER 1
LYF WATER 10
LYF WATER 2
LYF WATER 3
LYF WATER 4
LYF WATER 5
LYF Water 6
LYF WATER 7
LYF WATER 8
LYF WIND 1 - 16GB
LYF WIND 1 - 8GB
LYF WIND 2
LYF WIND 3
LYF WIND 4
LYF WIND 5
LYF WIND 6
Samsung Galaxy A5 (SM-A500G)
Samsung Galaxy A5 (A510FD)
Samsung Galaxy A7 (SM-A700FD)
Samsung Galaxy A7 (A710FD)
Samsung Galaxy A8 (SM-A800F)
Samsung Galaxy Core Prime 4G
Samsung Galaxy J2 (2016)
Samsung Galaxy J3 (2016)
Samsung Galaxy J5
Samsung Galaxy J7
Samsung Galaxy Note 4 (SM-N910G)
Samsung Galaxy Note Edge (SM-N915G)
Samsung Galaxy Note 5 (SM-N920G)
Samsung Galaxy S6 (SM-G920)
Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge (SM-G925I)
Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge Plus (SM-G928G)
Samsung Galaxy J2 (SM-J200G)
Samsung J Max
Samsung Galaxy J5 2016
Samsung Galaxy J7 2016
Samsung Note 5 Duos (SM-N9208)
Samsung Galaxy On5 (SM-G550FY)
Samsung On5 Pro
Samsung Galaxy On7 (Mega On-SM-G600FY)
Samsung On7 Pro
Samsung S7
Samsung S7 Edge
Samsung Galaxy J2 Pro
Samsung Galaxy Note 7
Samsung Z2Alcatel Pixi 4 (5-inch)
Alcatel Pop3
Alcatel Pop4
Asus Zenfone 3 Deluxe ZS570KL
Asus Zenfone 3 Ultra ZU680KL
Asus Zenfone 3 ZE552KL (Libra)
Asus Zenfone 3 Laser ZC551KL (Scorpio)
Asus Zenfone 3 ZE520KL (Leo)
Blackberry Priv
Coolpad MAX
Coolpad Mega 2.5D
GIONEE F103
GIONEE S Plus
GIONEE Elife S6
GIONEE M5 Plus
GIONEE P5LGIONEE F103 Pro
GIONEE S6s
Infocus M535
Infocus M680
Infocus M370
Infocus M370I
Infocus M535+
Intex Cloud String
Intex Aqua Eco 4G
Intex Aqua 4G
Intex Aqua Ace 2
Intex Aqua Craze
Intex Aqua Power 4G
Intex Aqua S7
Intex Cloud String V2.0
Intex Aqua Ace Mini
Intex Aqua Strong 5.1
Intex Aqua Raze
Intex Aqua 4G Strong
Intex Aqua Shine 4G
Intex Aqua Music
Intex Aqua Secure
Intex Aqua View
Karbonn Aura
Karbonn Quattro L45 IPS
Karbonn Quattro L55 HD
Karbonn Aura Power
Lava X10Lava X28
Lava X81
Lava V5
Lava X50
Lava A71
Lava A72
Lava A88
Lava A76
Lava A89
Lava X46
Lava X38
Lava X38 (2GB)
LAVA X17
Lava X11
LeEco Le 2
LeEco Le Max 2
Lenovo Vibe Shot
LG X Cam
LG X Screen (K500I)
LG Google Nexus 5x
LG G4 Stylus 4G
LG G5LG K7
LG K10
LG Stylus 2 Plus
LG Stylus 2
Micromax YU Yunique Plus
YU Yunique (YU4711)
Micromax Canvas Sliver-5
Micromax Canvas Amaze 4G
Yu Yuphoria (YU5010A)
YUREKA Note (YU6000)
Micromax Canvas Mega 2
Moto G 3rd Gen
Moto E 2nd Gen
Moto X Play
Moto G Turbo
Moto G4
Moto G4 Plus
OnePlus 3
Onida I4G1
Oppo F1
Oppo A37
Oppo F1 Plus
Oppo F1s
Panasonic P55 Novo 4G
Panasonic Eluga Arc 2
Panasonic Eluga I2 (2GB)
Panasonic Eluga I2 (3GB)
Panasonic Eluga Arc
Panasonic Eluga Icon 2
Panasonic Eluga I3
Panasonic Eluga A2
Panasonic Eluga Note
Sony Xperia Z5 Dual (E6883)
Sony Xperia Z5Premium Dual
Sony Xperia XTCL 560TCL 562
Videocon Graphite 1 V45ED (4 bands)
Videocon Graphite 1 V45ED (6 bands)
Videocon Q1
Vivo Y21L
Vivo V3
Vivo V3 Max
Xiaomi Redmi 2 Prime
Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 (H3A)
Xiaomi MI5
Xiaomi Mi Max
Xiaomi Redmi 3S
Xiaomi Redmi 3S Prime
XOLO Era 4G
Sansui S50 FD45S
HTC Desire 626 Dual SIM
HTC Desire 628
HTC Desire 630
HTC Desire 728 Dual SIM
HTC Desire 820
HTC Desire 820Q
HTC Desire 820S Dual SIM
HTC Desire 825
HTC Desire 826 DS
HTC Desire 828 DS
HTC Desire 830
HTC Desire Eye
HTC 10
HTC 10 Lifestyle
HTC One A9
HTC One E9 S Dual SIM
HTC One E9+ Dual SIM
HTC One M8
HTC One M8 Eye
HTC One M9 Plus
HTC One ME Dual SIM
HTC One M9e