Reliance Jio Infocomm, led by Akash Ambani, has been selected by the Gujarat government as the new service provider for mobile phones for all government officials and dignitaries. This decision comes after Vodafone Idea, which was the service provider for 12 years, was replaced by the government, said TheIndianExpress report. The bid for selecting a new service provider was floated well before the December 2022 Assembly elections.
An official resolution issued by the general administration department on May 6 stated that the agreement with Reliance Jio is initially for two years. The government will review the quality of the mobile phone service and tariff rates after six months, and if either of them is found unsatisfactory, the agreement will be terminated.
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It was in 2008 when the government started giving mobile handsets to officials and dignitaries like the governor and ministers. At that time, the service provider was BSNL. In 2010, the government changed the service provider to Vodafone Essar Gujarat Ltd. In 2011, the government procured Blackberry handsets for official use.
Under the new agreement, Reliance Jio has been asked to provide a new series in which the first five digits will be unique and common for all users. However, if the user wishes, the service provider may retain the existing mobile number as per the free mobile number portability scheme without charging any switchover fee. All the numbers provided by the company will be part of a closed user group.
The monthly rental for basic services is Rs 37.50. All incoming and outgoing calls, including those on national roaming, are free. Data services (4G and 5G) will be charged between Rs 25 and Rs 125, depending on the pack chosen.
The government's decision to change the service provider after 12 years aims to ensure quality service and a cost-effective solution for the state. The agreement with Reliance Jio comes with a review clause that allows the government to terminate the agreement if the service or tariffs are found unsatisfactory.