Reliance Jio is reportedly charging customers for retaining inactive numbers

Reliance Jio users are reportedly getting an email with the subject line talking about number retention charges. The customers of Jio have started posting on forums about these emails and have been asking for suggestions and follow-up actions on receipt of such an email.

Also Read: Jio customer care: how to contact Jio on phone, email, WhatsApp and Twitter help accounts

India’s telecom market has come to a point where there are only three main operators. Reliance Jio, Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea are the three prominent names. Among them, Airtel and Jio have been trading places for the numero uno slot. They have also been gaining customers from rival Vi (formerly Vodafone Idea), which has seen its share of struggles recently.

Reliance Jio reportedly charging customers for number retention

Forum posts by Jio users allege that the telco has started charging them for inactive numbers

Reliance Jio has the highest average revenue per user (ARPU) among the telecom operators in India. It has a higher ARPU mainly because of its ability to retain customers. Now, these very customers are reporting that the company is charging them for number retention. The information was spotted on popular forum DesiDime.

The forum mentions Jio customers are getting emails with the subject line “Number retention charges for Jio Number”. Some have noted that these subject lines mention the charges that will be deducted while others have received mails without mention of any charges. The number retention becomes an issue when a customer stops using their number for a period of more than 90 days.

Those posting on these forums have noted that they have not used their Jio number for more than 90 days. In one case, the customer notes that they have not done any kind of recharge for more than one and a half years. TRAI guidelines permit Reliance Jio to discontinue service and offer the number to another customer in the market.

Can Jio deactivate your SIM?

There is already a known shortage in the allocation of mobile numbers, leading to the possibility of switching to more than 11 digit numbers in the future. As a result, TRAI allows telcos to restrict service first, and then discontinue completely. Here is what TRAI says in its guidelines. As soon as the validity of a prepaid customer expires, the operator will stop outgoing calls since they may not have any balance left to complete the calls.

After a period of time, which could be as much as 30 days, the operator can stop incoming calls as well. Pricebaba has learned that Jio reminds its customers with non-usage on their numbers for more than 90 days, via recorded calls and text messages. The operator does not seem to be reaching out to customers on mail, since email ID is not widely recorded as part of KYC or eKYC.

This alone makes us question the authenticity of the emails being discussed on these forums. On its website, Jio has clearly stated the process being followed in the case of non-usage for more than 90 days.

How to activate Jio SIM which is deactivated

Jio notes that Rs 20 will be deducted from the main balance as “Automatic Number Retention Scheme” upon expiry of 90 days. The deduction will happen only if you have more than Rs 20 in your main balance. After this deduction, Reliance Jio will extend the non-usage period by another 30 days. “This process will continue till the balance in your account is less than Rs 20, post which your number will be deactivated,” the company explains in its website.

In case, your number does not have more than Rs 20 in main balance, then you can reactivate your number by making a payment of Rs 20 within 15 days of deactivation due to non-usage. Jio can disconnect your number only if said fee is not paid within the TRAI suggested timeline.

If you are a Reliance Jio user who has not done any recharge in more than 90 days then you should recharge your number first to ensure you don’t lose calling and data services. However, if you don’t recharge for a longer duration then Jio is within its rights to discontinue your service and allot that number to some other customer. But, it will do so only after informing you via call or SMS.

How to check if Jio SIM is deactivated

The easiest way to identify if your number is deactivated by looking at the network strength on your phone. If the number is deactivated then you won’t see any signal strength (shown in bars) and you might see “emergency calls only” message. You can also check the MyJio app to see whether it is still accessible.

Alternatively, you can call the customer care at 1299 and check with them. In case, your number is disconnected, you can ask them for ways to reactivate the same number, which is possible if not sold to another customer.