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Reliance Jio SIM ground report: 1 SIM for 8 people and a wait of 50 days

On September 5, the Reliance Jio Welcome Offer opened to all. Reliance CMD Mukesh Ambani at the company's 42nd general meeting had announced that Reliance Jio 4G SIMs will be available to all from September 5. The only requirement: the users should have a 4G-compatible phone.
The service and its plans have already gathered enough buzz because of aggressive pricing and attractive data plans. The Jio service promises free unlimited 4G data till December 31 and unlimited free voice calls and messages. The company had said that starting from September 5, users can get a free SIM from Reliance Digital, Reliance Digital Xpress, and Reliance Digital Xpress mini stores.
When something is too good to be true it's always best to go check for yourself. So IndiaToday tech team visited a few Reliance stores to check how the company is doling out the best and cheapest data plans to the common public. Unfortunately, it seems that it is not, that is not doling it out.
Update: Reliance Jio is registering customers using eKYC process in Delhi and Mumbai. The process makes the SIM activation faster compared to the earlier process which involved paper forms. Hopefully, eKYC process should make the availability of more SIMs faster too in the coming days.   
Here is what we found.

Reliance Digital Store, Great India Place, Noida

The Reliance Digital showroom at GIP mall opens at 11 in the morning. I reached there at 2.30pm and was met with a line of about 10-15 people, which was way below my expectation. But the reality was something else.
The store had set up a counter close to the gate and an employee was writing down customers' names and phone numbers. On inquiring whether they are selling the SIMs, he said, "Sir, you'll have to get into the line. We are now registering people for September 12."
After further probing he said, "4,600 people have registered till Sept 9. More are coming every minute."
This number was a little bit high, so I asked him the number of SIMs that were available this morning. He said 150.
Now, let's do some calculation. 150 SIMs were made available on the first day of Reliance Jio launch, 4,600 people registered for the SIM till September 9. This means about eight people per SIM, and that also means a slim chance for everyone getting a SIM by September 9. The only way it is possible is if the supply of Jio SIM improves in the coming days. Just 150 SIM cards a day won't work.
Did Reliance just pull a Freedom 251? Seems like it.
Reliance Digital Xpress Mini Store, Sector 18, Noida
The store was closed. A neighboring shop owner told me that it didn't open today.

Reliance Digital, Sector 63, Noida

Deciding to visit this Reliance Digital store in Sector 63 was a bad idea. I learned a couple of lessons from this visit. One, Google hates the scattered sectors of Noida. And two, the place where Google showed Reliance Digital store is actually a barren land. Three, there's no Reliance Digital store in Sector 63, even if it is there it must be hidden using some magic spell because no one in the whole area knew such a store. A few good Samaritans did make me feel better by saying that there were others who too came looking for the fabled store.
Also read: Reliance Jio vs Airtel & others: Jio data is cheap but not by much

Reliance Digital, Logix mall, Noida City Centre Metro

The last stop in my pursuit of a Reliance Jio 4G SIM was the Reliance Digital store inside Logix Mall. Surprisingly, it was almost empty. Like its sibling in GIP mall, this one also had set up a counter close to the entrance, however, there were only two or three people registering for the SIM.
When I contacted the person responsible, a security guard, he handed me a token after writing down the name and number. He also informed me that I can call the store and ask for the SIM after October 26! That is almost two months from now.
The interesting part here is the number on the token. My token reads 63 so I assume I am at position 63 in queue. Then why such a long waiting period? No answer seemed logical.
Another thing that became clear today was India's affection for cheap and almost free services. When I asked a 23-years-old college student at GIP Mall if he is going to wait for so many days to get the SIM, he said, "I just need to write down the name, for free. When there will be a SIM they'll call me, for free. Even if I get it in November, I'll still have one month to use free internet. What's the harm!"
True, what's the harm? Get in the queue now. 

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