Reliance has finally announced the commercial rollout of its Jio network services during their AGM at Mumbai. Though the rollout was delayed for a long time, not many would be complaining; especially after having a glance at the tariff plans Jio has to offer. Precisely speaking, Reliance Jio fulfills almost everything people were expecting from it, if not exceeding their expectations.
With their aggressive pricing strategy coupled with VoLTE powered networks, Reliance Jio indeed aims to revolutionize the Indian telecom market. Well, it isn’t just about the data, rather the best part about Jio is that one doesn’t need to pay for making voice calls on their network, as they are completely based on 4G. This is in contrary to the 2G networks that are being used by other telecom operators in India. Also, Reliance is touting ultra cheap data at less than Rs 50/GB. In short, the deal is too good to be true, but is it really that cheap or is there a catch? Well’s let find out as we compare Jio’s tariff plans with three of its main competitors including Airtel, Vodafone and Idea. In the process of doing so, we will be answering many of your questions regarding Jio which may still be bothering you.
How do I get a Reliance Jio SIM card?
First things first, the pre-requisite for getting hold of a Reliance Jio SIM is owning at least a 4G enabled smartphone. It is however recommended to own VoLTE supported smartphone as the Jio makes use of VoIP protocol for connecting calls on their network. That said, there’s a work around that enables any 4G phone (without VoLTE) to place calls on Jio network using the company’s proprietary Jio Join app. Besides, you no longer need to own any of the smartphones from those selected brands Reliance tied up with for rolling out their Jio Preview offer; as any device would do the trick as long as it fulfills the above mentioned pre-requisite.
From today (September 5), you can walk in to any Reliance Digital, Digital Express (DxMini) or associated store and claim your SIM card upon production of a valid government document like Aadhar card and two copies of passport size photographs. Technically speaking, you don’t need to carry a 4G smartphone with you, but there might be some instances of store guys insisting on the Jio code (here is a guide on how to create offer code via MyJio app). Reliance is also claiming that in order to ease the process of application for a new SIM, amidst the huge demand, the company would make use of a e-KYC method at their stores and would hand over an activated SIM card to the customer within five minutes. This is however rolling out in phases across the country starting with Delhi and Mumbai. To find the Reliance Digital or Digital Xpress Mini store nearest to your home head over to this page.
What is the ‘Free Welcome Offer’?
At the AGM, Mukesh Ambani announced that Jio will offer unlimited free data, calls and SMS to its customers who sign-up for a new SIM for a period starting from September 5 to December 31st. This is very similar to the 3-month preview plan which the company had been offering. That said, unlike the preview offer, the ‘Free Welcome Offer’ will come with a daily data cap of 4GB. However, you can still browse the net once you have crossed this data, albeit at a markedly reduced speed of 128Kbps.
Besides, you can also enjoy Jio apps for free which according to Reliance is worth Rs 1,250 a month; but then again the data used for using these apps will be deducted from the allocated daily data. These include Jio’s own music streaming, TV streaming, magazine, security and messaging apps among others. For a definitive guide on what all the Jio apps have to offer do head over to our article on Jio Apps.
My Reliance Preview Offer ends in November. Can I enjoy ‘Free Welcome Offer’?
Yes, you can. The ‘Free Welcome Offer’ is applicable for any one and that includes both existing and new customers of Jio. Rather, Jio will automatically transfer existing customers of their Preview Offer to the Free Welcome Offer on September 5th. This means, those who were on Preview offer and were enjoying the unlimited data, will have to be content with the 4GB data cap on the Welcome offer, although Voice calls aren’t capped.
What all tariff plans can I choose from?
This is where things get interesting, as the tariffs on offer by Reliance are groundbreaking. There are a total of 10 tariff packages that include calls (voice + video), data and SMS. The complete list of tariff is given below.
Would Jio charge for Data used during Voice Calls?
So you might be wondering if Jio is really offering voice calls for free? Oh yes, they are, and there’s nothing to be surprised about the same. The kind of monthly packages which Jio is providing were already being offered in US via telecom operators like T-Mobile, Verizon for quite some time now. Users who sign-up for those packages need to pay a fixed monthly amount for which the operator would offer them unlimited voice calls and a limited amount of LTE data. Well, it seems that Jio aims to bring the same tradition to India, and this move is sure to disrupt the market.
It is however worth noting that calls made over VoIP would use of LTE data but you wouldn’t be charged for the same from your existing data packs. On the contrary, the video calls made using the network would be chargeable in the form of data i.e. the amount of data utilized while making the video call would be deducted from your remaining data balance. This effectively means that if you finished your data balance before expiry of the pack, you are barred from making video calls unless you top-up your data pack. That said it’s worth noting that Jio is the only service provider in India who is not charging any premium for making such video calls. Voice calls however will resume as usual, as the data consumption in this case is zero rated.
What if I consume the allocated Data before my Tariff Plan expires?
Well, don’t worry as Reliance has got your covered. Jio will provide users with a number of data add-on packs. The cheapest of the lot starts at Rs 151 for 1GB of 4G LTE data and another 1GB of JioFi data. Here also, students will get 25% more data on showing valid ID proofs.
Can I enjoy Free Voice Calls without opting for any of the 10 tariff plans?
No, you can’t. In order to make free voice calls from your Jio SIM you need to use any one of those tariff plans starting from as low as Rs 19. However, you can still make calls using your Jio by recharging your SIM using the following top up values. That said, standard calls charges will apply for such calls. Honestly speaking, we wouldn’t really recommend you to use any of these top ups as Jio’s Rs 149 tariff plan with validity of 28 days seems like a much sweeter deal than these.
What if I want to make ISD Calls?
Jio has the provision of making ISD calls but you would be required to top up your SIM with a ISD Combo pack worth Rs 501. This would enable you to make international calls at discounted rates to a total of 61 countries. Do note that the talktime value of Rs 501 would end along with the expiry of your tariff plan. Apart from ISD, Jio has top up provisions for International Roaming and SMS too.
Can I opt for a Postpaid Connection?
The plans mentioned above are prepaid ones, but in case you are willing to sign-up for a postpaid connection, you would be required to pay a marginally greater sum over the prepaid plans. The validity of the postpaid plans would, however, be for 1 month and not 28 days. That said, it’s worth noting that two of the tariff plans including the Rs 19 and Rs 299 are non-applicable for postpaid connections.
Can I port my existing number to Jio [MNP]?
Yes, you can, and the process is rather easy too. All you need to do is to send any SMS from your existing SIM to 1900 saying “PORT Mobile Number”. Soon after you would receive an SMS on the same phone with a Unique Port Code popularly known as UPC. It’s, however, worth noting that your current carrier may charge you depending on your tariff plan for the first SMS you send to 1900. On receiving the port code, you need to visit a Reliance Digital stores and signup for a new Jio SIM card using the UPC code. Don’t forget to carry your ID proof and passport sized photos with you.
Thereafter the Jio officials present at the store will hand you a SIM card. But do note that you can’t use the SIM card instantly, as TRAI rules require you to use your previous operator’s SIM for 6 more days. Once the period is over, you can finally pop-in the Jio SIM card to your device and start using it. That said, be careful to check that you have cleared all your due payments to your existing mobile operator before you apply for the UPC.
Will Free Voice calls on Jio help reduce your monthly mobile bills?
Although voice calls over Jio will be free, you will still be required to recharge your SIM with any of those tariff plans to utilize it. Well that’s no deal breaker as you would be required to recharge just Rs 149 for using the free voice calling service. And that’s not a hefty amount considering the fact that Rs 149 on Airtel and Vodafone won’t even last you more than 230 mins (Rs 149/0.65p). Then again, these telecom providers don’t even offer a full talk time at that price. Only Idea is offering a full talk time at as low as Rs 70. Nevertheless, there’s no doubt that for such customers who use their phone primarily for calling, Jio is an offer hard to resist. Apart from the free voice calls, you are getting 200 SMS and 300MB of 4G data. But then again, they are forcing you to port your primary number to Jio from your current telecom operator.
Just in case you are still not convinced with Jio’s network and you still want to call for free, then making use of Rs 19 recharge which comes with a validity of 1 day. It will especially come in handy during blackout days like Diwali, New Year etc. when other telecom operators start charging sky high prices. So the final answer is yes, Jio is the cheapest calling option available in the market in India!
Jio vs Airtel vs Vodafone vs Idea: Who offers the cheapest data plans?
Let’s break this comparison upon the use case – one for light data users (300-500MB), one for medium (1GB-2GB) and one for hardcore ones (4GB and upwards). Going by the market dynamics there’s no doubt that majority of India’s data users fall in the first two categories.
Light Data Users
- Jio – Rs 149 (Free Voice Calls + 200 SMS + 28 days of validity)
- Airtel – Rs 75 (No Freebies + 8 days of validity)
- Vodafone – Rs 103 (No Freebies + 28 days of validity)
- Idea 3G – Rs 103 (No Freebies + 30 days of validity)
Well it seems that Airtel is by far the costliest when it comes to light data using. While Idea and Vodafone are reasonably cheap alternatives, no one offers such value for money. By paying Rs 36 more you are getting free voice calls, video calls and 200 SMS. That’s sweet!
Moderate Data User
- Jio – No plans available
- Airtel – Rs 251 (No Freebies + 28 days of validity)
- Vodafone – Rs 251 (No Freebies + 28 days of validity)
- Idea 3G – Rs 146 (No Freebies + 28 days of validity)
For all practical purposes, Idea 3G offers the best value for your money if you are just looking to browse internet on your phone. Although you will be limited to 3G speeds, the plan at offer by Idea is about 42% cheaper than the ones by Airtel and Vodafone. Jio on the other hand doesn’t cater to those users who had become used to recharging 1GB of monthly data on their phones all the while. But then again is there anyone who use their phones to just use internet and not make phone calls? That’s highly unlikely. Hence it is suggested to consider the Rs 299 plan of Jio, that comes with unlimited voice calls and SMS, as most moderate users generally recharge at least Rs 100 every month as part of their calling costs. For Airtel and Vodafone users though, the choice between the Rs 251 data pack and Rs 299 complete Jio package would be quite easy. Else, pick up the Rs 149 plan and top it up with Rs 151 for a total of 1.3GB of data.
- Jio – Rs 299 (Free Voice Calls + Unlimited SMS + Unlimited Night Browsing + 4GB JioFi Data + 21 days of validity)
- Airtel – Rs 448 (No Freebies + 25 days of validity)
- Vodafone – Rs 349 (No Freebies + 28 days of validity)
- Idea 3G – Rs 251 (No Freebies + 28 days of validity)
Thus it seems that Jio has steered clear of its competition by a huge margin. While Airtel is severely lagging behind in terms of price to performance ratio, Vodafone and Idea tries to catch up with Reliance with comparatively affordable plans. Idea is the cheapest of the lot, but you would be restricted to a 3G connection. Apparently, Idea hasn’t yet launched its 4G services in Kolkata.
Heavy Data Users
- Jio – Rs 499(Free Voice Calls + Unlimited SMS + Unlimited Night Browsing + 8GB JioFi Data + 28 days of validity)
- Airtel – Rs 748 (No Freebies + Validity of 25 days)
- Vodafone – Rs 954 (No Free Calls/SMS + Extra 4GB 4G/3G Night Data + 28 days of validity)
- Idea 3G – Rs 751 (No Free Calls/SMS + Unlimited Data Usage at 80Kbps post 4GB)
The likes of Airtel, Vodafone and Idea 3G are no match for Jio in terms of pricing. Jio is about 34% cheaper than its cheapest competitor and yet provides freebies like unlimited voice calling, video calling, SMS etc.
- Jio – Rs 999 (Free Voice Calls + Unlimited SMS + Unlimited Night Browsing + 20GB JioFi Data + 28 days of validity)
- Airtel – Rs 1097 (No Free Voice Calls + Extra 1GB + Unlimited Usage post 11GB at limited speed + Validity 28 days)
- Vodafone – Rs 999 (No Freebies + Validity of 28 days)
- Idea 3G – Rs 1501 (No Freebies + Validity of 28 days)
In this 10GB price bracket, Jio’s competitors succeed to reduce the gap but still can’t match the impeccable package Reliance has to offer. Vodafone, in fact, is providing a similar amount of data Rs 999 whereas Airtel is providing unlimited 11GB data at a slightly higher price. If calls and SMS are something that doesn’t bother you and you are looking for a seamless data connection, then Airtel is definitely the best option available.
Disclaimer: All the prices mentioned here are for Kolkata circles. The prices of the data back however may vary depending upon the circle you are in, but the difference is quite negligible.
Thus it seems that the top three service providers in India are severely lagging and fails to match the price to performance ratio of Reliance Jio. That said, Airtel has now launched a new plan to compete Jio wherein the customers need to pay them the whole year’s data charge amount in advance. So let’s see if this new plan from Airtel can match up with Jio.
Airtel’s latest plans requires you to pay Rs 1498 as a one-time yearly payment for 1GB of internet. After you recharge your account with this amount, you would be able to recharge for 1GB of 4G/3G data at just Rs 51. So if you need 4GB of data one month, you would be required to recharge with Rs 204. In short, if you use 1GB of mobile data per month i.e. 12GB of internet yearly you would need to pay a total of Rs 2,110 per year. That said you would get 1GB extra data, thus a total of 13GB for that price. This effectively means that you are getting 1GB of 4G/3G internet at Rs 162, which is about 35% cheaper than Airtel’s existing monthly recharge plans. Now it’s upon you to decide whether or not you are willing to pay so much amount in a single go.
As you can see from the above table, Airtel internet packs are cheaper for those who use 4GB or more data per month. But then again, it’s worth noting that the extra premium you are paying for Jio is getting you a large number of things which include free unlimited voice calls, video calls, SMS and even unlimited night surfing.
Here’s another tariff comparison between these four telecom operators wherein plans have been compared on the basis of one pre-requisite i.e. unlimited/stipulated calling minutes. This clearly shows that Jio edges out its competitors in this occasion thanks to its unlimited free voice calling. Besides it’s worth noting that short-term data plans of Airtel, Vodafone and Idea hasn’t been taken into consideration for the comparison as they don’t come with any additional calling minutes.
Tell me five reasons to opt for a Jio SIM?
- Free Unlimited Voice Calls/SMS
- No Roaming Charges
- No Blackout Days
- Unified Plans across India
- 25% extra data for students
How does Jio benefit by providing such cheap tariff plans?
The most probable question on everyone’s mind at present, is how come Reliance offer such cheap tariff plans? And if such tariff plans were possible why didn’t Airtel, Vodafone introduce it earlier? Well, it pretty simple. While Jio is indeed providing a lot for the price you pay for especially in terms of voice calls, their plans are built in a way to tempt users away from your current network provider. Just a few days back, a customer who was paying Rs 100 per month to their network provider for voice calls would now be tempted to opt for the unlimited voice call package Reliance has to offer at Rs 149. Apparently, the average telecom user in India spends Rs 150 per month. Now, more the number of users on board would mean more number of users for their Jio apps. Rather, that’s where Jio plans to cash in. Going by the recent market trends in the telecom industry especially in developed markets like the US, there’s no doubt that content distribution is the future of this business. Nothing exemplifies this than the acquisition of Yahoo by leading telecom firm Verizon. Verizon apparently own yet another reputed content firm AOL. Reliance seems to be walking on the same path and aims to generate a major chunk of its revenue by streaming music, live TV and providing e-magazines.
While Jio is providing these streaming services for free till December 2017 as part of the initial offer, they are sure to charge subscription charges for the same once the offer period ends. That said, the free three months of usage may make a number of users dependent on their Jio ecosystem; thus it is highly likely that a major chunk of them would subscribe for the apps in the future. Moreover, with people migrating to Jio from other telecom providers and investing a major portion of their monthly mobile expenses on their network would result in a huge amount of revenue. Thus it seems that Jio plans to focus on economy of scales and market monopoly to establish its footprint in the Indian telecom market.
How does Smartphone OEMs benefit from the launch of Jio?
Increased craze for Jio would lead to increase demand for 4G phones especially those with VoLTE support. The demand would especially be higher in the budget range i.e. sub Rs 4,999 price bracket. That said, we may also see a spike in the sale of Reliance’s own Lyf handsets.
At the end of the day, it’s a win-win situation for both the consumers and the smartphone brands. While one gets to enjoy data and calls at much lower prices, the other gets to see a spike in its smartphone sales. And well that’s all you really need to know about this latest phenomenon in the Indian Telecom market called Jio!