Those days are gone when we used to have lifetime validity on our number. Now it is necessary to do a minimum recharge every month to keep SIM active. Till a few days back, our sim cards were showing the validity of up to 2037 and now, out of a sudden, we are asked to do minimum recharge to extend sim validity, every month. There is no lifetime validity recharges available anymore, and it’s mandatory to recharge every month to make outgoing calls.
If we don’t maintain the minimum balance (For a long time), we will lose our number. It applies to all operators, Airtel, Vi (Vodafone & Idea), BSNL & Jio. In this post, we will see if we can get a free validity extension without any recharge & what are the lowest-priced options to keep our number active.
What You Have To Do To Keep SIM Active:
Since the introduction of this usage policy, the user needs to do a minimum recharge of Rs.49 every month, giving them 28-day outgoing call validity and some talk time balance (₹39-49) with limited validity. And if they don’t do the minimum recharge, their outgoing will be immediately barred.
Moreover, if the customer still doesn’t recharge with a minimum pack, then your incoming call will also be barred after 15 days. And after few days, 60 days usually, the number will be deactivated. So the thing is that you need to keep doing recharge if you want to keep your sim card active.
It got even worse recently in 2021, Now, Vi & Airtel has removed outgoing SMS Service from all plans costing below ₹128. Same in Jio which doesn’t have a basic plan and you can’t do outgoing calls and SMS without a plan which costs ₹129 per month.
TRAI Rules On SIM Deactivation:
After getting lots of complaints from users, TRAI directed mobile operators. TRAI has said that companies can’t disconnect the number until the user has sufficient balance in the account.
This is what these guidelines mean:
If your sim has a balance equal to the minimum recharge amount (Usually Rs.49), your number won’t be disconnected. You will continue to receive calls and SMS without any further recharge. But, the sim card operator will deduct a balance equal to the minimum monthly recharge pack from your main balance.
You can also make calls from your existing balance and it’s valid as long as your sim is active. But, the minimum recharge plan comes with limited validity talk-time. It will lapse once the plan’s validity is over.
The minimum recharge amount is around Rs.39-49 and can be activated from the existing prepaid balance but it will only give you the validity of 28 days, with limited validity talk time benefits. (And no outgoing SMS Validity).
Incoming calls will be active for another 15 days once your outgoing validity plan has expired.
If you don’t recharge after these 15 days and don’t have sufficient balance, incoming calls will also stop, and the number can be disconnected. Vi & Airtel follow a 60 Days grace period. Jio has a 90 days grace period in place. BSNL has a much longer 180 days Grace period.
What If Your SIM Card Has Enough Balance?
If you have a large amount balance like Rs.500 in your prepaid account and don’t do any calls using that number for a long time, the service provider will deduct an amount equal to the minimum recharge pack every 30 days.
The minimum pack starts from Rs.49 which means your sim will be active for the next 10 months without any recharge. Your service provider will keep deducting the minimum balance from your account & for example, an Rs.500 balance will be enough for up to 10 months.
Minimum Recharge to Keep Number Active 2021
There are two kinds of plans, some allow only outgoing calls and incoming calls & SMS only. While other priced plans allow you to do outgoing calls and SMS both. There are unlimited plans as well, with unlimited calls, 100 SMS per day and data as per your plan value.
If you need only incoming/outgoing calls & IC SMS and no outgoing SMS then you can recharge with the minimum plan available. But you will not be able to send any SMS. This also means you will not be able to send PORT SMS or UPI SMS, those are required when you re-register for UPI.
I have seen people complaining about why their UPI registration is failing even after doing the minimum required recharge. The reason is that you might have recharged with a plan which doesn’t come with outgoing SMS validity. Below we will see the minimum recharge value for all the operators.
Operator Wise Cheapest Plans to Keep Number Active:
|Jio||₹129||Unlimited Calls + 300 SMS + 1GB Data For 28 Days|
|Jio||₹199||Unlimited Calls + 100 SMS/Day + 1.5GB/Day For 28 Days|
|BSNL||₹397||300 Days Validity + UL Calls, 100 SMS/Day & 2GB/Day For 60 Days|
|BSNL||₹94||100 Min. + 100 SMS – ₹0.30/Min. Calls + 3 GB Date & 75 Days Validity|
|Airtel||₹149||Unlimited Calls + 300 SMS + 1 GB Data For 28 Days|
|Airtel||₹219||Unlimited Calls + 100 SMS/Day + 1 GB/Day For 28 Days|
|Vi||₹129||Unlimited Calls + 300 SMS + 2GB Data For 28 Days|
|Vi||₹449||Unlimited Calls + 100 SMS/Day + 4 GB/Day For 56 Days. + Weekend Data roll-over, UL Night Data & Zee5 For 1 Year.|
I feel these are the best plans for most users, you can see more plans in detail, separately below I have not included BSNL Packs with daily data as they don’t have 4G coverage in most of the locations.
Airtel Minimum Recharge to Keep Number Active:
In Airtel, You need to recharge with a minimum of ₹49/79 (Circle wise) every 28 days to keep your number active with outgoing calls. If incoming calls are all you need, you can wait for another 7 days before the next recharge, at max, post that even incoming calls will be barred. Airtel ₹49/79 plan doesn’t have outgoing SMS validity.
Airtel minimum recharge with outgoing SMS service starts from ₹128 which comes with only service validity (Incoming/Outgoing SMS & Calls both) and no balance so better avoid this plan. Another option is the ₹129 plan which has Unlimited calls, 300 SMS, 1 GB Date and 24 days service validity.
|₹79||₹64 Balance, 28 Days Validity, No OG SMS.|
|₹128||No Balance, 28 Days OG Calls & SMS Validity|
|₹129||Unlimited Calls, 300 SMS, 1GB Data – 24 Days|
|₹149||Unlimited Calls, 300 SMS, 2GB Data – 28 Days|
|₹199||Unlimited Calls, 100 SMS/Day, 1GB/Day Data – 24 Days|
|₹219||Unlimited Calls, 100 SMS/Day, 1GB/Day Data – 28 Days|
|₹249||Unlimited Calls, 100 SMS/Day, 1.5GB/Day Data – 28 Days|
Airtel ₹19 plan which comes with 200 MB of Data and unlimited calls with 2 days validity can be a good option if you want to make calls during the grace period. Your incoming and outgoing service will be activated immediately but I can’t confirm if it’ll reset the grace period & keep sim active for another 60 days. Ideally, it should but someone need to try and confirm it with Airtel customer care.
Jio Minimum Recharge Plans to Keep Number Active:
In Jio, the Minimum recharge to keep the number active starts from ₹98 which has 14 days validity, 1.5GB of Data per day and no outgoing SMS. You can recharge this once every 14 Days + 90 Days (Grace period) if you want your number active for the cheapest price. Another plan is ₹129 which has 28 Days validity, 1GB of Data & 300 SMS. The best option is the ₹329 plan which has 84 days validity with unlimited calls, 6 GB data and 1000 outgoing SMS.
|₹98||Unlimited Calls, No SMS, 1.5GB/Day – 14 Days|
|₹129||Unlimited Calls, 300 SMS, 1GB Data – 28 Days|
|₹149||Unlimited Calls, 100 SMS/Day, 1GB/Day – 24 Days|
|₹199||Unlimited Calls, 100 SMS/Day, 1.5GB/Day – 28 Days|
|₹329||Unlimited Calls, 1000 SMS, 6GB Data – 84 Days|
Vi Minimum Recharge Plans to Keep Number Active:
In Vi, minimum monthly recharge plans start at ₹49 while it’s ₹79 in some circles. There’s another ₹95 plan with 56 Days validity, but none comes with outgoing SMS validity. The best plan for non-data users is ₹129 which has Unlimited calls and 300 SMS for 28 days. If you use the internet using Vi sim, I suggest, recharge with ₹449 plan which has 4GB Data/Day, Weekend Data Rollover, Unlimited Night Data benefits. You also get Zee5 Premium for 1 year under promotional offer with this plan.
|₹49/79||₹38/64 Balance, 28 Days Validity, No OG SMS.|
|₹95||₹74 Balance, 56 Days Validity, No OG SMS.|
|₹128||No Balance, 28 Days OG Calls & SMS Validity|
|₹129||Unlimited Calls, 300 SMS, 2GB Data – 28 Days|
|₹199||Unlimited Calls, 100 SMS/Day, 1.5GB/Day Data – 28 Days|
BSNL Minimum Recharge Plans to Keep Number Active:
Currently, BSNL is the cheapest option you have got if you need outgoing calls and SMS both. You can recharge with the ₹397 plan which has 300 Days outgoing validity. You also get 2GB/Day and Unlimited calls for the first 60 days. There are plenty of plans in BSNL starting at ₹49. However, that also hiked their plans from 1st August but they are still considerably cheaper compared to Vi & Airtel.
There’s no Outgoing SMS Restriction in BSNL.
|₹49||100 Minutes (₹0.45/Min.) + 100 SMS + 2GB DATA – 28 Days|
|₹94||100 Minutes (₹0.30/Min.) + 100 SMS + 3GB DATA – 75 Days|
|₹106||100 Minutes (1 Paisa/Sec.) + 100 SMS + 3GB DATA – 84 Days|
|₹397||300 Days Validity | 2GB/Day + 100 SMS Per Day For First 60 Days|
How to Extend SIM Validity Without Monthly Recharge:
Now many users are asking if there is any way to extend sim validity without doing recharge every month. Here are possible ways to do so.
1. Send a PORT Message and Ask Customer Executive For Validity Extention
Some users have reported that when they sent a message to port out and got a call from the service provider, they asked to extend sim validity. Some of the users said that it worked for them and their validity was extended for a few days without doing any recharge. You can so try this out to see if you are lucky enough to get a validity extension without any recharge.
You simply have to send an SMS to 1900 in the following format: PORT<space>NUMBER
Let me know in the comments below if this trick works for you.
2. Port Out to BSNL or Jio For A Longer Validity
As a new customer, you get a lot of benefits. If you don’t want to recharge with a minimum amount every month, you should port out to any other operator.
BSNL & Jio can be the best option for such users as users have no such condition. You still have to do recharges but not every month. Jio and BSNL have a longer grace period than Airtel and Vi. You can keep getting incoming calls and SMS in your Jio sim without recharge.
Also, BSNL has a lot of Validity plans to start with. Initially, when you get your new sim card you don’t have to do recharge with anything extra as it already comes with 6-12 month validity for new users.
Once 6 months are over you can do a validity recharge on your BSNL Number. You can do a validity recharge from your prepaid balance as well.
BSNL has very cheap plans to extend sim validity. For example, Rs.397 validity pack gives you 12-month validity, 2 GB/Day data and unlimited calls for 60 Days. So considering this BSNL seems to be the best choice for most of the users as Jio is 4G only network so Jio is not gonna work for those users whose phone doesn’t support 4G.
If you are a smartphone user, you can keep one primary sim of any operator that you will recharge every month. And you can use BSNL or Jio as a secondary sim card for emergency purposes.
Keep in note that, some smartphones don’t support dual 4G standby. So make sure if you get a Jio sim, you have to use it as a primary sim (for internet access) or otherwise it won’t get any signals.
You can get any sim if you are sure that your phone supports dual 4G standby.
3. Activate Validity Extension Pack From Your Prepaid Balance
You can also activate the validity extension pack from your existing prepaid balance. Current plans start from 49 INR and give you the validity of 28 days. You can keep activating these packs from your balance and can continue to use your SIM.
You can do this for as long as you have enough balance in your prepaid account balance. But when you have no balance in your account, you will have to do recharges.
If you don’t activate any validity pack despite having sufficient balance, your service provider can deduct the required balance and activate a minimum pack on your behalf.
This way you will still keep paying monthly but the frequency to do recharge manually can be decreased.
FAQs On Jio, Airtel, Vi & BSNL SIM Validity:
Jio SIM validity without a recharge is 90 days after that, you need to do the minimum recharge to keep the sim active. Officially, the Jio SIM grace period is 90 days without a recharge but it works for a lot longer time than that. Just make sure that you get a few incoming calls on this number, every once in a while.
Jio’s minimum monthly pack starts at ₹129. You can do unlimited calls for 28 days with this pack. You also get 2GB of data in this pack which is valid for 28 days. JioPhone users can get a similar plan for ₹75 only.
Vi & Airtel SIM grace period is 60 days. Jio follows a 90 days grace period. BSNL has 7 days Grace 1 period with all services active & another 6 months Grace 2 period before your sim card is deactivated. You can contact customer care on 198 for more clarity.
Jio is the best option if you want a SIM for incoming calls and SMS only. It works for 90 days without recharge & does not stop incoming calls and SMS services. But for outgoing service, you need to recharge with a minimum of ₹129 every 28 days.
Airtel sim will be deactivated after 60 days of non-recharge. Outgoing calls stop immediately after your pack expire but you will continue to get incoming calls for the next 7 days. After this grace period, now if you don’t recharge for another 60 days, your airtel sim will be deactivated.
Yes, incoming is free in Jio & you don’t have to recharge just to keep incoming calls & SMS active. It works for as long as your number is active. It’s better compared to other operators where you have to pay for incoming calls as well.
So these were the possible options to extend sim validity without recharge. Do let me know if you have a better option or suggestion to keep sim active for the maximum time while paying the minimum amount possible.