Seven things you want to know about Jio in the times of demonetisation
Photo Credit: Shah Junaid/VCCircle

On Thursday, Reliance Industries Ltd chief Mukesh Ambani announced that new users signing up for the 4G voice over LTE (VoLTE) enabled service, will be offered free services till the end of March 2017. Moreover, existing users too will continue to enjoy free services for another four months.

Here’s all that we know about RIL’s new offer.

Who will the new offer be open to?

It will be open to all customers enrolling after 4 December. They will enjoy free services till 31 March 2017.

What then happens to existing customers?

They will be automatically migrated to the new offer, and will, likewise continue to enjoy free services till 31 March next year.

But will current Jio users enjoy the same benefits as before?

Not really, and this is the big catch. Jio has cut the Fair Use Policy (FUP) data limit from 4GB a day to 1GB a day. So, whether you’re an existing user or a new user, you will only get 1GB a day, beyond which, you will have to contend with slower speeds.

But is that necessarily a bad thing?

Well, Ambani says it isn’t. He said Thursday that even at 1GB, the usage will be 30 times the average data use on other networks. Moreover, since the service is free, you can’t really complain, can you?

But I don’t want to change my old number?

Ambani says that Jio now supports mobile number portability, so that should not be a problem.

How about the problem of call drops?

Ambani said on Thursday that thus far, Jio’s rivals have “blocked” 900 crore calls since its launch in September. He however said that the call drop rate had come down from 90% to 20% and that his company’s goal was to get it down to a hundredth of that figure. Jio’s rivals including Airtel, Vodafone and Idea have however contested such claims in the past and have been at loggerheads with the new entrant.

So how is all this linked to demonetisation?

Ambani said that to enable millions of merchants to transact digitally, Jio will install micro ATMs and get merchants on board its app Jio Money. So customers will have the services of an e-wallet. Curiously, Jio Payments Bank Ltd, a joint venture between Reliance and State Bank of India, was reportedly incorporated just two days after Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced that Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes will no longer be legal tender. Reliance had received an in-principal approval to set up a payments bank back in September 2015.

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