Bought a new JioFi (WiFi) Internet access device; Getting its free data offer to work needed calls to Jio customer care

Last updated on 17th Sept. 2017

Over the past few weeks I have got comfortable with using Jio 4G Mobile Internet via a USB modem (dongle) with a Rs. 399 plan giving 1 GB/day for 84 days [see http://www.jio.com/en-in/4g-plans], as my primary Internet connection. However, on some days I cross the 1 GB 4G speed data limit (after which speed drops to 128 Kbps), at which time I use the secondary Internet connection of BSNL landline broadband ULD 470 plan which comes with taxes to slightly over Rs. 550 per month, and gives 2 Mbps speed till 10 GB, and 1 Mbps speed beyond.

Now the Jio Rs. 399 plan for 84 days works out to Rs. 147.25 for 31 days, so we can say around Rs. 150 per month.

The secondary plan of BSNL broadband seems to be too expensive, in comparison! After a lot of exploration and thinking (including considering an Airtel 4G connection), I decided to go for a secondary Jio 4G connection, initally of 2 GB/day with another Jio Internet device. The Rs. 509 plan gives 2 GB/day for 56 days, which works out to Rs. 281.76 for 31 days, say around Rs. 280 per month. I decided to try out this plan as my secondary Internet plan and if that works out well, phase out the BSNL Broadband connection costing me around Rs. 550 per month, giving me a saving of around Rs. 270 per month.

Now if I want to have two active Jio Internet connections I will need to have two Jio SIMs, each with their own Jio 4G plans. And if I want to avoid swapping the two SIMs in and out of a single 4G modem/router, I will need to have two modem/router devices each having one Jio SIM. [For details on this see my post, To have two active Jio 4G Internet connections you need two Jio SIMs and two plans; One Jio SIM cannot have two active 4G plans, https://goo.gl/LWA3mH, dated 16th Sept. 2017.]

https://www.jio.com/shop/en-in/jiofi/p/491193576 shows details of the Jio Fi 3 router device that I found to be of interest. Its main features are as follows:
* Creates an Internet HotSpot using Jio 4G Internet service
* 10 WiFi enabled devices (laptop, smartphone, desktop with WiFi facility etc.) can optimally connect to the Hotspot (max is 31 such devices)
* One USB connection
* Portable (as it is small)
* Battery is claimed to last 7 to 8 hours
* Through a device (Android OS and iOS devices only, I guess, but NOT old Symbian OS devices like my old Nokia E-52 phone) having Jio4GVoice app. free voice calls can be made (local and STD) using the JioFi router’s WiFi connection.

[BTW the JioFi 3 (and JioFi 2) works with the battery removed from the device, if it is connected to AC power source through its charger cable and AC adapter (both of which are supplied in the package). This aspect is NOT advertised by Jio but may be more of a discovery by JioFi users. In this video from around 3 min you can see a person demonstrate this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-M05oBDsXtE, around 5 mins, Feb. 21st 2017. One comment in this video page indicates that JioFi 3 when connected to laptop using the USB-cum-charger cable works without battery! However, as there does not seem to be any official word of this feature in the Jio website, I don’t know whether such usage of JioFi 3 without battery is approved by Reliance Jio company.]

The online price is Rs. 1,999. But this price gets effectively reduced by a few interesting free data (and free voice) offers. Three of the four options are interesting, which are:
*) 1 GB/day for 28 days * 6 (close to six months)
*) 2 GB/day for 28 days * 4 (close to 4 months)
*) 60 GB for 60 days * 2 (around 4 months and 120 GB totally)

15th Sept. 2017 Log/Note (slightly edited)

Over the past two to three days or so, I was making inquiries in Puttaparthi local shops about this device and the free data offers. Sales persons at one shop which seems to be an only Jio and Jio authorised dealer shop, showed me the JioFi 3 device and also showed unopened JioFi 3 device packages available with them. The price quoted was Rs. 2200 and they also said that free data offers are available but the free offers they were saying did not exactly match what I read on the Jio website.

I was prepared to pay the higher price of Rs. 2200 for immediate delivery and activation support service as well as other support service that they were offering me. But I wanted to have the free data offers as per Jio website. So I went on 15th Sept. 2017 evening with my Dell Mini-Laptop (and my 4G USB modem/dongle with my first Jio SIM as my Mobile Internet connection) to the shop, and showed them the webpage detailing the free offer.

I think support to these shopkeepers/shop sales & support persons in Puttaparthi (rural town in India) from Jio representatives may not be all that great in terms of teaching them about all the details of their products and the various data offers and how to process such offers for customers. So I wanted to work with the shop sales and support persons to get something reasonable for me.

On showing the webpage with the data offer details, the shop persons agreed that these data offers would be available to me after I buy the device. So I went ahead with the purchase which involved some customer verification (by local Aadhar number and thumbprint on a fingerprint recognition device in my case) and some details being entered in some Jio sales software, I guess. While doing this process they told me that the 60 GB data for 60 days * 2 cycles free data offer was not listed in their online procedure/software system. But both the 1 GB/day for close to 6 months and 2 GB/day for close to 4 months options were available. I chose the 2 GB/day option as my free data option.

The formalities were completed, as per the shop persons, around 7.15 PM or so on 15th Sept. 2017. They had been kind enough to open the packed JioFi device box in front of me and explain its components. They had then put the SIM (taken from separate pack) into the JioFi device, and connected the battery to the JioFi device. The support person had switched on the JioFi device explaining to me the two simple buttons on the WiFi device.

That’s it, they said. They told me it will take a couple of hours for the data to become available on the JioFi device.

At 7:13 PM I got an SMS about the SIM activation on my BSNL provider Nokia 3G phone which I had specified as an alternate number. The key part of the message was: “Your Jio Number xxxx has been successfully activated. Kindly insert your Jio sim in Sim slot 1 of your dual sim handset, …” So the Jio setup procedure is geared for 4G smartphone and NOT the WiFi router. This created one problem for me which I have explained later on.

Around an hour or so later, in my apartment flat, I checked out the JioFi router connectivity with my Dell Mini-Laptop. That part was a breeze. Over WiFi on the laptop, the router showed up as the name/SSID written at the bottom of the cylindrical box package of the router. Its password was also printed there, which I entered when I clicked the connect to router WiFi SSID/name option on laptop. Then the laptop was connected to the router over WiFi. But it attempted to open some Microsoft link which failed and I got shown a (local) page stating that I have to recharge my account (SIM). As two hour period had not passed, I thought I should wait till that period is over.

However, there was NO PROBLEM in accessing the administrator settings of the router using the browser. I could also connect the router to the Laptop with its USB cable (micro-USB on router side), which started charging the device as well. [There is another separate charger provided which can be plugged into the mains and connected to router using the same USB cable. I tried that later on and it seems to do the charging properly. Note that one can switch off the router or keep it on while one is charging.]

Meanwhile I also tried to see if I could add this new Jio SIM to my Jio web portal account which already has one SIM associated with it (which is viewed as primary SIM/account, I think). The process of adding another ‘account’ (SIM) involved an OTP being sent to the same SIM via SMS! Now if I were using the SIM on a smartphone, I would have no problem as I could access the SMS on the phone. But here it was a WiFi device! In its web administration interface I could not find any SMS receiving & display facility!

Then there was the bigger problem that even at 9.30 PM or so (two hours after the new SIM had got activated), I still was not able to browse the Internet with the router and new SIM! So I realized that there was some problem that I would need to sort out using the help of shop sales and support persons.

However, I thought of trying out calling Jio customer care (1-800-88-99999), and seeing if I could sort out the problem using their help. Perhaps I made the first call around 10.15 or 10.20 PM. The service guy (getting to the service person required some navigation of automated interactions) understood my two above mentioned problems. For the first one he said that my BSNL number which was already listed with them, has to be made some ‘alternate’ contact number (or something like that) after which the OTP PIN will be sent to it, instead of the (new) Jio SIM. He then said that after that is done, I could use some voucher option to activate my 2GB/day free data offer (for 4 cycles of 28 days). He also initiated something which sent the OTP PIN (for new SIM account addition) to my BSNL cellphone.

After finishing the call (I am not that savvy with mobile phones to multi-task), I looked up the SMS received on my BSNL cell phone and used that to create an additional “Linked” SIM ‘account’ for the new SIM on my Jio web account portal. That part went through quite easily. Now there is a Primary Account which is my first SIM number associated account and a Linked Account which is this new SIM number associated account.

On choosing the Linked SIM ‘account’ on my Jio portal account page, I could see under Summary the message, “You are on a pay-as-you-go plan. Your usage will be charged from monetary balance. Check tariffs for your plan.” Now, for prepaid plans (which is what I use), this is where the available data for the day is typically shown along name and validity period of Jio plan that is active (for that SIM)!

But under My Plans I saw an entry “1 Active Plan” and under it, “MRP 509 * 4 + PRIME”, with a message, “Valid Till 13 Oct 2017 19:13”. [15th Sept. 2017 19:13 to 13th Oct. 2017 19:13 seems to be the first of the four 28 day cycles. I think this 509 plan is the older Jio plan which was for 28 days giving 2 GB/day, and which is part of the JioFi data offer. The current plan is Rs. 509 for 56 days giving 2 GB/day but that is not linked to the data offer.]

It was good to see the free data offer plans listed and active. But Summary was not showing it! I looked around for any vouchers button/menu choice/option but did not find it. I even tried going through the Recharge procedure but backed off (cancelled it) when I was taken to a payment page! So I was stuck.

Around 10.45 PM I called Jio customer service again. The lady who responded confirmed to me that my Jio (new) SIM number had 509 plan * 4 cycles (2 GB/day x 28 days – 4 cycles) offer listed. But she said the store/seller did not ATTACH the IMEI number of JioFi device/router (listed at bottom of JioFi cylindrical box package) to the SIM (which is a separate pack/pouch)! Therefore the data is not being accessible to the JioFi router! But, on questioning her, she told me that the plan’s validity period meter had started!

She told me that I should wait till tomorrow by which time the problem would get fixed by the shopkeeper doing the task of ATTACHING the IMEI number to the SIM. I was not sure how that would happen as I told her that the shop staff felt that they had finished their work. She also told me that the ONLY persons who can ATTACH the IMEI number to the SIM were the shop/store persons and that even they – Jio customer care – could not do it. As I digested all this, I told her that perhaps the best thing was for me to approach the shop/store persons in the morning tomorrow, explaining all this and asking them to do this router (JioFi) IMEI number ATTACHMENT to SIM. She was very supportive of that. So that’s what I need to do tomorrow (16th Sept.) morning. Hopefully the shop persons will understand what I am saying and then do the needful. If not, I can call up Jio customer care from the shop itself and try to resolve the problem there itself.
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16th Sept. 2017 Note/Log

Today morning slightly after 10 AM I went to the Jio shop in Puttaparthi along with Laptop, WiFi Router, its box and SIM pouch. I explained the issue to the shop staff. I also demonstrated the lack of Internet access from router on laptop after WiFi connection was established.

The support guy called up his Jio support person who gave him some instructions. The support person that tried out some something on his phone app (connected to Jio software system I guess). But that did not solve the problem. He also tried changing settings on my Jio portal account. But that too did not help.

After half an hour or so of lack of progress, I suggested to the support person – a youngster – that I could try calling Jio customer care and see if they could help. He was not in favour of it.

Sometime later, perhaps after additional fifteen to twenty minutes of no progress, I repeated my suggestion of me calling up Jio customer care, this time more forcefully. He did not object so much and so I called up Jio care. A lady came on the line and grasped the situation quite quickly, also referring to past two calls history of mine, I guess. I told her that the shop support staff are NOT able to solve the problem.

She then asked me for the IMEI number which I conveyed. She also confirmed the date and time of purchase. She said that she has filed a support request to ATTACH the IMEI number to the SIM number and that it will get done within 48 hours. She said I could track the request through my Jio account on the Jio portal. If it does not get done in 48 hours I can call Jio customer care again.

After the call got over, I checked on Jio portal -> Support -> Service Request -> Choosing my Linked Account instead of Primary Account. I saw an Open Service Request with details “Tariff Plans-Pack Activation/Deactivation”, created on 16th Sep. 2017 at 11:13 and an estimated resolution time of 18 Sep. 2017 11:13.

As I type this is in, it is around 6.25 PM., the service request status is same as above. So no solution yet.

The shop support person said he would like to try something more, perhaps by calling his Jio support person. But I was not in favour of that. I did not want any new efforts by the support person to interfere with the service request initiated by customer care. So we decided to wait for Jio Care’s service request to sort out the issue.

Overall, while I am disappointed that the free data offer did not kick in within a couple of hours after I had bought the router & SIM, and then activated the SIM, I am glad that Jio support is able to understand the problem quite well, and make clear suggestions about what I should do to attempt to solve the problem. Yes, the suggestion to go to the shop in the morning and get them to do the ATTACHMENT of JioFi router IMEI to SIM did not work. But that may be due to lack of knowledge about the process on part of the young support staff (perhaps due to lack of suitable training).

When I called up Jio support again today morning they did understand that I had made efforts from my side and perhaps that’s why they decided to initiate the IMEI attachment request from their end. If it solves my problem, I think I will be happy even if I had to wait a few days (and lost a few days validity period) for the free data offer. The bigger thing/achievement would be that in rural town of Puttaparthi, I would have been able to avail of the free data offer.

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17th Sept. 2017 Note/Log

JioFi 3 router’s free data 2GB/day plan is working now!

I was very happy to see around 12:30 PM today afternoon (17th Sept. 2017) the entry corresponding to my new Jio SIM Linked account on Jio web portal show 2 GB data available! BTW I had not checked this earlier today. So I don’t know when exactly it got set.

Around 1:30 PM I checked whether Internet access is available now with my new JioFi 3 device having the new SIM. As expected it is available. So the Jio customer care people did solve my free data plan not working problem!

Under My Plans for the new SIM Linked account in my Jio web portal, two plans are listed as active.
1) MRP 509 * 4 + PRIME
[It shows a ‘Tariff Charges’ link]
Valid Till 13 Oct 2017 19:13
2) MRP 509 * 4 + PRIME
[This lists info. like 2 GB/day data, 100 SMS/day and Unlimited Mobile Voice.]
Valid Till 07 Jan 2018 03:30
— end of My Plans info. —

The second plan listed above was not there earlier (yesterday). It seems to have been added by Jio support staff which has solved my data access problem. Note that it may have been done today, 17th Sept. 2017 at 03:30 AM due to which the 28 * 4 days validity period takes it to 07 Jan 2018 03:30. [Used http://www.thecalculatorsite.com/misc/days-between-dates.php to get the days period between these two dates. It is 112 days which is 28 * 4 days.]

So perhaps there was an additional issue related to the way the first plan entry above was created by the shop support person, as its validity period was only till 13th Oct. 2017 which would have been only 28 days from 15th Sept. 2017.

The new plan also resolves the lost two days of validity period issue I had with the earlier plan!

So while I did face problems in getting the free data offer to work, Jio support staff were very co-operative, understood my free data offer related problem quickly and over 3 calls I made to them on the matter, gradually got closer to the solution and eventually gave me the solution without me losing out on validity period during this period of problem resolution. They were also polite and even apologetic that I was facing this problem in availing the free data offer. I am very happy with Jio customer care/support so far.

I plan to do some speed tests using the new JioFi 3 router and new SIM (with 2 GB/day) plan. But I have already noted that if I keep the JioFi router horizontal next to my laptop on my computer desk in my bedroom, its signal strength indicator shows blue color indicating medium strength. If I hold it vertically the signal strength indicator shows green color indicating good (best indicator value) strength. To keep it vertically and stable, one would need some arrangement to prevent the JioFi3 from falling, as its vertical base is very thin.

But even with blue color indicator (JioFi kept horizontally) on my computer table, I am able to scroll through Facebook with images showing up quite quickly, though at times one sees an image placeholder which quickly gets replaced by the image. Fast.com reported the speed as 1.1 Mbps. Note that Windows Update setting was (Automatic) Check for Updates and so there is a possibility of some automatic Check for Updates slowing down the fast.com speed test.

Later speed tests with JioFi 3 kept in almost vertical position on computer table next to my laptop, gave speeds typically between 3 to 6 Mbps. The horizontal flat on computer table position for the Jio Fi 3 is a not a good position/placement and must be avoided.

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