The first match of the IPL will be played on Saturday.
The SIM cards being pushed to LYF retailers will be given free when people buy LYF mobile phones, and possibly Mifi devices, and will carry free data allocation.
“SIM has been delivered to stockists today,” said a person who is in the know, located in the state of Kerala. This is the first time SIM cards are being supplied outside the company.
“It should reach (LYF) retailers in two days,” he added.
LAUNCH AT IPL?
Once the stock reaches all retailers via the stockists and distribution networks, Jio will formally announce the sale of LYF with bundled connections — possibly at the IPL — after which customers will be able to buy LYF handsets with free data from over a lakh retail stores.
The timing of the move indicates that the company could take advantage of the upcoming season of the Indian Premier League, the country’s most watched domestic sports event by far, to launch its 4G services.
Perhaps no coincidence, Reliance group’s Mumbai Indians will play in the opening match on Saturday.
We’ve got further information about Jio at IPL. See the updated story. Also see the new Mumbai Indians uniform.
— Mumbai Indians (@mipaltan) April 5, 2016
Another indicator is that the match will take place at Mumbai Indians’ home ground, which is also home turf for Mukesh Ambani-promoted Reliance Jio and its parent Reliance Industries.
Ambani won the Mumbai team of the IPL when teams were first auctioned eight years ago, and one of the key advantages of owning an IPL team is free publicity for your brands.
Last year — with no launch in sight — Mumbai Indians carried the logo of ‘Jio Chat’ — a messenger app from the company. However, this year, they are likely to promote LYF, which will be the only handset brand that will come with Reliance Jio connections initially.
NOT JUST RELIANCE DIGITAL
Over the last one week, Reliance Jio has been training staff at various Reliance Digital outlets across the country on how to fill up customer acquisition forms and upload them via special scanners.
It has installed these CAF setups even in some of the small Reliance Digital Mini stores. However, some stores have as few has a 100 SIM cards available with them. (See base tariff chart found inside the new SIMs on the right.)
Smaller retailers are unlikely to be given CAF scanning authorization, and may have to rely on the tried and tested courier method.
At present, Jio officials have not told even their handset distributors what the exact offer on these phones is going to be, even though SIM cards have been pushed into the system.
CONFLICTING SIGNALS ON FULL LAUNCH DATE
Our sources gave conflicting signals about when Reliance Jio will go for a full commercial launch.
While a company source said it would be around October or November, a distributor said he expects to be able to get SIMs for sale in one month.
The SIMs that will be bundled free with LYF handsets will be made available through the handset shops and not SIM/recharge shops.
Meanwhile, Reliance Digital sales people said they have no idea when the SIM cards that they have been provided will be sold.
Some ground-level store staff believe that individual SIMs will be sold. However, according to our sources, SIM-only sales will not take place.
There are also regional variations in Jio’s preparedness. While Kerala, Mumbai, Delhi and Bangalore and other big cities are gearing up for the launch of the bundling offer, there are reports other places that no SIMs have been pushed into the Reliance Digital outlets yet.
See our complete coverage on Jio.