Reliance Jio has been pouring offers to the JioPhone users ever since that phone was in the market. But many of us may be forgetting the unique selling point of this feature phone from Jio. Yes, we are referring to the ‘Effectively Zero Cost‘ marketing policy of the JioPhone. Now, you might be thinking what it has to do with the exclusive recharge offers provided by Jio. So let’s refresh the JioPhone terms to find what we might have missed the whole time.

JioPhone Refundable Security Deposit

We already know that JioPhone doesn’t cost zero since we have to pay Rs 1500 (as security deposit) for purchasing it. The price will become effectively zero only after getting the refunds on returning the phone. This doesn’t mean, you can buy the phone and return it as you wish for getting the refund of Rs 1500. Reliance Jio has put forward certain conditions regarding the return period and cashback.

JioPhone Rs 49 Plan May Violate The Effectively Zero Cost Terms

As per Jio’s terms, a customer must recharge the phone every month to keep the phone. Moreover, he has to do a minimum recharge of Rs 1500 every year for 3 years to qualify for the refund. So total cost of the phone will add up to Rs 6000. Now you are eligible for the Rs 1500 refundable security deposit on return, provided the phone isn’t altered. But, what happens if you wish to return the phone before 3 years. Jio will reduce the cashback depending on the return period and will charge you a penalty with GST.

JioPhone return periodEarly Return ChargesWhat you get back
Up to 12 months from the date of the first issue of the JioPhoneRs 1,500 plus applicable GST or other taxesRs 0
After 12 months and up to 24 months from the date of the first issue of the JioPhoneRs 1,000 plus applicable GST or other taxesRs 500
After 24 months and up to 36 months from the date of the first issue of the JioPhoneRs 500 plus applicable GST or other taxesRs 1000
After 36 months from the date of the first issue of the JioPhoneRs 0Rs 1500 minus applicable GST or other taxes

In short, failing to do minimum recharge, altering the phone, and returning before 3 years will disqualify you from getting the full refund. Then there is another clause, which reads, Jio has the right to repossess the device if you fail to recharge every month. Yes, Jio has clearly stated these in their terms and you are bound to accept it.

How can Jio Rs 49 Plan Violate The Effectively Zero Cost Terms

You may have already availed the discounted recharge offers for JioPhone. But, if you keep on availing these exclusive offer tariffs, you might not hit the minimum recharge amount of Rs 1500 for a year. Let’s consider the Rs 49 tariff alone for explaining the details.

A JioPhone user can do several recharges (50 times) at a time, since it gets queued to your plan. So if you are recharging with Rs 49 which has a validity of 28 days for 14 times you’ll get a total talk time of 392 days. The total spending here will add to Rs 686 only which is way less than the minimum recharge criteria of Rs 1500. So, this shows you can’t avail the recharge offers and the refund at the same time.

One way to get the refund is by availing the Rs 49 along with other data packs so that it will reach a total of Rs 1500. The other method is by doing Rs 153 plan for 9 months and Rs 49 plan for 3 months which adds up to Rs 1524.

JioPhone Cashback Vs JioPhone Recharge Offer

You’ve to choose either the cashback or the recharge offer of the JioPhone and forget the other. So if you need the full refundable security deposit, you have to recharge the JioPhone with Rs 153 plan for 3 years. This way the total recharge cost alone will add up to Rs 5967 for 3 years. That is you have to spend approximately Rs 5967 for using the JioPhone even if you return the phone. You’ll get around 1700 GB data for 3 years by opting for this.

Now let’s consider the Rs 49 or other sub-hundred offers. For 3 years you need to spend only around Rs 3400 including the cost of the phone since there is no refund. So you might save approximately Rs 2500. But, you’ll have only the luxury of only 40GB data for the 3 years recharges.


The above statements and calculation are based on the present tariffs and FUP limits. JioCare has given us the response that doing Rs 49 recharges alone for a year will make you ineligible for the refundable security deposit. Even though doing the reduced tariffs might compensate for the refundable deposit. We shouldn’t forget that JioPhone’s USP was the ‘Effectively Free’ or ‘Effectively Zero Cost’ tag. Hope the article was informative, Peace!

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