The official Reliance Jio launch is still a few weeks away – the latest rumoured date is August 15 – but the Jio 4G SIM card is now available to almost all, thanks to Samsung and Apple. The two companies have joined hands with Jio to offer free unlimited 4G data for 3 months for some of their phones. However, if you have an eligible phone and manage to get a Jio SIM card, you can use the same SIM in almost any 4G-enabled phone.Meanwhile, on the other side of the 4G and 3G market, competitors like Airtel and Idea have started scrambling to prepare their response to the Jio services, which are likely to offer better connection speed as well as lower priced data.On Sunday, Airtel announced that it was slashing the price for its pre-paid data in India.”At Airtel, we always aim to deliver a great mobile experience and value to our customers. These refreshed data packs will help drive consumption and boost the uptake of mobile internet in the country. Given the deepening smartphone penetration and Airtel’s roll-out of data networks across India, we believe these packs will also drive affordability and bring new users online,” said Ajai Puri, director (operations) for India region at Bharti Airtel.On Friday, Idea too had slashed the data prices. “Now Idea users can get up to 45% more data benefits on sachet packs below 1 GB. Idea offers a wide range of 4G/3G/2G sachet data packs priced between Rs 8 and Rs 225,” the company had said.Currently Indian telecom sector is marred by poor service and exorbitant data prices. In absence good competition all telecom companies have indulged in practices that rarely put consumers first, especially when it comes to data services. For example, if you use data without subscribing to a pack most companies charge very high price for ever 10kb and you may end up spending thousands of rupees just to check a few emails. It is expected that the entry of Jio may help reduce the data prices in India and may force other operators to improve quality of service.A few days ago TechPP had reported that Jio and Samsung have joined hands to offer 3-month free data scheme to select Samsung phone users. On Saturday, BGR India reported that the similar offer is available for the iPhone users. Almost all high-end phones from both the companies are eligible for the offers.
ReportsHowever, the interesting bit is that once you have obtained the SIM – it will be given to you only if you go to the Jio store with a phone that is part of the special offer – and once you have activated it, you can use it in almost any 4G enabled phone. Although some people who have done so have reported that in many “non-supported” phones only the data works and not Jio’s VoLTE feature that is required for calls.While Jio’s services are not yet available officially, the company has been sort of beta testing it for the last one year and has been fairly lenient in how people acquire its SIM. Earlier, the SIM was bundled with Jio’s Lyf phones and it was only available with a referral code from a Reliance employee. However, of late, anyone can go to a Jio store and get a Lyf along with the Jio SIM. Now, with the SIM available for Samsung and Apple phones, more people can get it.On Friday, Reliance said that Jio already had over 1.5 million users and each of them, on average, consumed almost 26GB data per month.
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