Mukesh Ambani today said Jio Digital, India’s latest telecom service, will start full commercial operations from September 5, implying that you will be able to port your number using MNP to Jio’s network starting from next Monday.
However, the company has been facing huge issues in processing customer application forms in recent days, slowing down new subscriber sign-ups.
Still, at least in Mumbai and Delhi, users will be able to walk in with an aadhaar card and get a working Jio connection within 15 minutes as the company is introducing new electronic KYC (know your customer) system in these cities immediately. This is expected to reduce the workload and help ease MNP processing as well.
In other cities, the system will take another 3-4 weeks to be introduced.
Meanwhile, those trying to do MNP into Reliance Jio network can start by generating their unique porting code from their existing operator on Sept 4 or 5.
To do so, type ‘MNP xxxxxx’, where xxxxxx stands for your phone number, and send the message to 1900.
You will get a unique porting code, with which you have to go to any Reliance Digital outlet and submit the porting request form.
It is widely expected that incumbent operators will be less than happy to see their customers go to Reliance Jio.
Already, incumbents — through their association COAI — have refused to provide required interconnection points to Jio unless the company moves out of the ‘trial’ stage into commercial stage.
With commercial operations beginning on Monday, the incumbents will be forced to give more voice interconnection points.
However, with this, the battle could shift to MNP, and Ambani hinted as much in his speech as he reminded existing operators that they have a legal obligation to honor their customers’ wish to port of their networks if they so wish.
“Telecom operators have an obligation not to limit the customer’s right to migrate to Jio using Mobile Number portability. I appeal sincerely to all my fellow operators to fulfil their obligations,” Ambani said today.
Going by industry reaction, there is unlikely to be a big blockading of porting requests, partly because the government is also keeping a keen eye on developments.
Today’s decision by Jio to announce all its tariff plans was also brought about partly due to regulatory and government pressure and it is unlikely that the government will stand by if other operators block Jio from acquiring MNP customers.
That said, the tariffs announced by Ambani today have not exactly been according to what people expected.
For example, under the new tariffs, you will get 10 GB of daytime 4G and unlimited night-time 4G for Rs 999. In contrast, most people were expecting between 25-40 GB of total data allowance for Rs 999.
Free voice calls were not on the wish-list.
Similarly, for Rs 499, you’ll get 4 GB of daytime and unlimited night-time 4G data, while people were expecting 10 GB of total usage.
Ambani said the plans have been structured in a way that seeks to address the idle capacity of the network at night.
In addition, the RIL chairman also revealed that voice will be given free of charge. It is not clear whether the data consumed by voice calls will be deducted from the total data quota or not, though it’s unlikely.
If such a deduction of data balance is not done, it would mean that, for Rs 149 per month, anyone could make unlimited number of calls to any network in India. Such a plan would totally destroy the business foundations of rival operators as they charge around Rs 0.60 to 0.70 per minute for voice calls.