JIO EFFECT: Idea Cellular offers ultra-cheap rates to MNP code generators

Idea Cellular has started offering ultra-low call rates in its biggest market, Kerala, for those who generate a unique porting code under mobile number portability.

While companies typically do make calls to find out the reason why a subscriber is porting out, it is rare for Idea — which has close to 43% revenue market share in the state — to offer such cheap schemes.

“These are schemes which are available only from our side,” said a customer care executive who called us when we generated a unique porting code.

The person asked us to recharge with Rs 19 within 3 days to get all local calls at 30 paise per minute and Idea-to-Idea calls at 10 paise per minute. The normal price of this recharge coupon comes to about Rs 200.

Compared to regular voice tariff from the operator, these are about 60% cheaper.

“If you want to reduce the call rate for STD, please recharge with 22 rupees,” the executive said. The normal cost of the voucher is Rs 120 for three months.

The tariffs will be valid for 90 days, he added. Asked what happens after 90 days, he said the company will come up with more attractive tariffs by then.

It is possible that the offer is being made to any Idea customer who generates a Unique Porting Code by sending ‘PORT XXXXXX’ to the number 1900, where XXXXX stands for your mobile number.


Idea is trying very hard to retain its market leadership in key circles like Kerala and Maharashtra.

Unlike most other states, Idea is the unquestioned No.1 in Kerala, Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra.

The company was seen as the most vulnerable to Jio’s emergence due to its lack of spectrum and fiber networks.

However, it has moved aggressively in recent months to roll-out its fiber network. Last month, it also made its biggest ever spectrum purchases, equalling the total spectrum bought by Vodafone and exceeding the quantity bought by Bharti Airtel and Reliance Jio.

With the latest purchases, the Aditya Birla Group company could soon overtake Vodafone to emerge as India’s second largest telecom operator. It is reported to have overtaken Vodafone as India’s third largest data service provider by volume earlier this year, but trails the company in voice volumes.

Reliance Jio offers unlimited calls for Rs 149 per month using VoLTE technology. Idea is expected to also expected to introduce VoLTE technology in December, after which it is likely to offer free unlimited calls with its 4G data packs to its subscribers.