Right since Reliance Jio announced free data and speech services on its 4G network for a trial period of four months, there has been an upheaval in India. Long lines of people were seen in front of Reliance digital stores waiting for their turn for a free mobile sim. At certain places these queues were a mile long waiting whole day in hot and humid weather for their turn. Every store was issuing 20-30 tokens to people and these would get their free sim after four to five days. Some people took leave from their job for number of days to try their luck for free sim. In fact the entire country must have come to a stand still trying to get these free sims. There were many scuffles between people waiting for their turn.
Since it was near impossible to get the free sim, I decided to find some other alternative to get the same. There was a scheme for those buying reliance wifi dongle for data only services in which the free sim was given without any wait. So I decided to spend Rs 2000 for the wifi dongle and within hlf an hour was able to get the free Jio sim after necessary documentation was done. I felt like a conquerer. But the major hurdle of getting the sim activated was still there. Anyway I had managed to skip the long lines and waiting for days to get the free sim. I was told by the vendor that my sim card would be activated within 24 hours and thereafter I could use it in the wifi devices as a high speed data device.
I was expecting a sms on my alternative mobile number from the service provider asking me to carry out tele-verification of my identity and address proof and thereafter my sim would get activated. For the next two days, I never got any message from the service provider. My call to the vendor from where I had purchased the wifi dongle went unanswered. I had to visit him personally the third day and let him have my piece of mind. He assured me that I would get the message on my mobile very soon. The delay was due to millions of new subscribers and the telecommunication company could only handles certain numbers every day. Anyway late that night I got a sms asking me to contact a toll free number for telephone verification of my details, post which my number would get activated. I kept trying for that toll free number till late night but the recorded voice told me that all lines to that number were busy and I should ring up later on. I gave it up as a bad joke and thought I would try the next day. Even the next day, I could not get that line. I happened to know some people who were at VP’s level in the service provider company. So I approached them and asked to help me out for the activation of my number. I was advised to try that line at the late hours of the night say at 3 AM. So I set an alarm for 2 AM that evening and had a disturbed sleep till 3 AM. I tried for the toll free number at 3 AM and after 15 minutes of attempts finally got the number. A recorded voice asked me for the verification to be entered and then I was told to hold on for the executive who would attend to me. This was followed by music for half an hour and no one came on the line. In between the line got disconnected. I had to repeat the procedure all over again and after a hard work of two hours, I was finally able to speak to the executive who assured me that my number would be activated within next 8 hours. Next day, I inserted the sim into the wifi device and kept checking up after every hour but it was still not activated. Finally at 4 PM the next day, I got the data connection as active in my wifi dongle, and I paired my all the devices like ipad, laptop and mob phones on to that. Finally by end of the sixth day, I was able to enjoy a good data connectivity, which I am told would be free till 31 Dec 2016 and thereafter I would be required to pay for it.
As someone has rightly said that there are no free lunches; Relinace Jio has attracted millions of Indian people who are now their subscribers. Though on the face of it they are providing free data and vice service till 31 Dec 2016, in the process they would have sold millions of wifi dongles and 4G VOLTE phones as their sim would not function on a normal mobile. Also they have ensured that at least 10 million subscribers get used to a high data speed and thereafter they would get so accustomed to such a luxury and would be willing to be paid members post 31 Dec 2016.
In actual fact everyone has spent some amount of money in getting these free sims like transportation costs for many trips to the vendors, skipping their job for number of days resulting in loss of pay beyond their paid leave, in purchase of compatible mobile handsets , inconvenience faced and cost of medicines for some who fell sick in the ordeal to wait in the long queues under adverse climate.
Indeed there are no free lunches in the World!