'New' rules for unused SIM deactivation

#1 Aug 8th, 2014, 23:12
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#1
I suspect that the information below is available in other posts, but I couldn't find it. However, I did find recent posts with out-of-date information, so I thought I would start this thread.

The old "six month rule" was being abused by the carriers (SIMs with large balances were being deactivated) so the government has imposed new rules. (Actually not so new, they were put in place last year.)

SIMs that are not being used at all can be deactivated after 2 months if the balance is below Rs. 20. If the balance is above Rs. 20, the carrier deducts Rs. 20 per month until the balance is below Rs. 20, at which point the SIM can be deactivated.

These are the published rules for Airtel and Vodafone. I believe other Indian carriers have the same rules.

So if you are going to be back in India within a year, put Rs. 200 on the phone and it will remain active for 2+10=12 months. Basically, you pay to keep the SIM active.
#2 Aug 9th, 2014, 00:49
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Warning: a balance information request (*141# for Vodafone) while on international roaming is not free but cuts deep into your balance. So keep track of your balance when outside India. A text message from an Indian SIM card to a German mobile phone costs Rs 15, less than the Rs 20 they deduct every month for no usage. That's how I am keeping my SIM card alive and kicking.
#3 Aug 9th, 2014, 00:57
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Golghar View Post Warning: a balance information request (*141# for Vodafone) while on international roaming is not free but cuts deep into your balance. So keep track of your balance when outside India. A text message from an Indian SIM card to a German mobile phone costs Rs 15, less than the Rs 20 they deduct every month for no usage. That's how I am keeping my SIM card alive and kicking.
On Airtel, the balance information request (*123#) IS free when roaming; moreover you can check your balance on airtel.in if you create an account. (The web method is also very useful in India if your SIM is in a dongle.)

On the other hand, sending an SMS from a roaming Airtel phone triggers a Rs 99/month roaming rental charge that is applied until your phone next connects to an Indian cell transmitter.

I am surprised to hear you claim that Vodafone does not charge you Rs 99/month. Their web page clearly states:

Quote:
You’ll be charged a monthly rental of Rs.99 when any of the following chargeable events are performed while on International Roaming:

Making an Outgoing call- USSD Callback* or Direct dial
Answering an incoming call
Sending Messages
Using GPRS
Only receiving SMS is free and not subject to the monthly charge.
#4 Aug 9th, 2014, 01:40
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For some reason they haven't been deducting Rs 99 from my balance. I have been back to India since I first got my SIM card.
#5 Dec 12th, 2014, 11:36
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For my idea SIM their website states it is 90 days, *not* 60 as stated above:

Code:
"For pre-paid connections with lifetime validity (not applicable for Assam, NESA, Jammu & Kashmir), the connection will continue as long as you maintain the usage as per the product conditions. Pre-paid connections wherein there is no usage for a continuous period of 90 days are likely to get disconnected. You can avoid this by ensuring continuous usage on your Pre-paid connection.
    In case of non-usage for a continuous period of 90 days, the validity can be further extended if you maintain a balance more than or equal to Rs 20. In this case, Idea will debit Rs. 20 from the Pre-paid account and extend the validity period by 30 days and the process will continue till the account balance is more or equal to Rs. 20.
    If during this cycle, the account balance becomes less than Rs. 20, the number will be disconnected and cannot be used. However, you have the option to get the same number reactivated within 15 days of disconnection by paying reactivation charges of Rs. 20."
However for the international rental charge AFAIU is only applicable to POSTpaid cards, not the typical prepaid SIM.

But I have some questions: Is this valid as long as I have credit, but I do not need to recharge within a specific time frame? I remember one needed to recharge every 6 months or so to keep the card alive in addition to using the card.

So is the consensus now that sending an SMS within the foreign country is cheapest or paying the 20Rs (which kicks in 90 days after the last usage and then has to be paid monthly AFAIU)?
#6 Dec 13th, 2014, 02:04
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Quote:
Originally Posted by binser View Post For my idea SIM their website states it is 90 days, *not* 60 as stated above:
Yes, it is 90 days. My original post was in error.

Quote:
Originally Posted by binser View Post But I have some questions: Is this valid as long as I have credit, but I do not need to recharge within a specific time frame? I remember one needed to recharge every 6 months or so to keep the card alive in addition to using the card.
The rules you quoted say nothing about recharging every six months, so that should tell you something. My original post also says the same thing:
Quote:
Originally Posted by RPG View Post So if you are going to be back in India within a year, put Rs. 200 on the phone and it will remain active for 3+10=13 months..
The Rs 20/month rule replaces the recharge-6-months rule, it does not add to it.
#7 Dec 13th, 2014, 22:31
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Thank you for clarifying this, RPG.

I did some more research on the rental charges and have to correct myself: idea also takes a rental charge for prepaid customers .

I would like to summarize the SIM card tips for our readers:

1.) REMOVE YOUR INDIAN SIM CARD FROM YOUR PHONE AFTER YOUR PLANE TOOK OFF AND LEFT INDIAN SOIL. OTHERWISE AFTER ANY CHARGEABLE EVENT YOU GET BILLED A HEFTY *MONTHLY* RENTAL FEE OF 99 OR 149 Rs UNTIL YOU ARE BACK IN INDIA.

If you do switch on your phone with an Indian SIM card inserted in a country outside of India AND a chargeable event occurs (call/data/outgoing sms), you will get charged an international roaming rental fee of 99Rs or 149Rs/month (depending on carrier) until your SIM card signs into its home carrier's Indian network again!

2.) AFTER 90 DAYS OUTSIDE OF INDIA 20Rs/30DAYS WILL BE AUTOMATICALLY CHARGED TO YOUR PREPAID ACCOUNT TO KEEP YOUR CARD ACTIVE.

If you plan to return to India within f.e. 8 months, your SIM card will get charged 100 (or 120) Rs. during those 8 months (provided you used the card on the last day of your stay in India for a call/sms/data). If you do not have enough credit for those 20 Rs monthly charges left on your account, the card will get deactivated (some carriers may allow you to reactivate the card within 15 days for a 20Rs fee).

This supersedes the "use your phone every 90 days" as the cheapest method to keep your SIM card alive when abroad.

3.) YOU NO LONGER NEED TO RECHARGE EVERY 180 DAYS TO KEEP YOUR CARD ACTIVE, PROVIDED YOU HAVE ENOUGH CREDIT FOR THE 20 Rs/30DAYS CHARGES.

It is no longer necessary to recharge every 180 days to keep your SIM card alive. But of course you should recharge, if you do not have enough credit to pay the 20Rs/mth (after 90 days of inactivity) fee to maintain your card.

There are several ways to recharge your card from abroad. One is f.e. by using the MobileTopUp service of one of the Dellmont/Betamax Voip carriers like browsercalls.com.

With the hassles, costs, uncertainties, and time delays of getting new SIM cards activated in India for foreigners, it now makes more sense than ever for the regular India visitor to keep SIM cards active while abroad.

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