Want to start off using a SIM card by a carrier known as Vi, as mentioned in our Vodafone Idea review? Good call! Before we get into it, know that while it’s completely free, you cannot activate your Vi SIM card online. However, you can sign up for a user account online. Then, through the website or My Vi app for Android and iOS, track the delivery of a free SIM card to your doorstep. After you finish the activation process, you can also monitor your activity, gain temporary benefits and promotions, and pay your bills. Are you still unsure about how to activate Vodafone Idea SIM card? Let’s describe the process in detail, then.
1. How to become a Vodafone Idea customer
Before you can follow the steps below, you must become a Vodafone Idea SIM customer. Unless you plan on visiting the store physically (method 4 below) and initiating the Vi SIM card activation process on the spot, you’ll have to do this:
- Pick a Vi prepaid plan or Vi postpaid plan by clicking Select on the one that fits your needs.
- Enter your location Pincode. Vi will check if you’re in the free SIM card delivery range.
- Enter any active mobile phone number as proof of identity.
- Select a new number or choose to transfer your current phone number to the Vi network.
- Tip. You can also sign up for a Fancy Number, a feature that allows you to choose a custom set of digits.
- Enter your full name, address, and flat/apartment number. Alternatively, click on “or detect my current location” to auto-fill the information based on your IP address.
- Click on the get OTP to complete order button.
- Enter the authentication code that arrived at the active phone number you entered above.
- If the request is approved, use Vi’s Track My Order page. Enter the contact number to check where the free Vodafone Idea SIM card is.
- You must be present when the SIM card is delivered, according to India’s TRAI (Telecom Regulatory Authority of India) mandate. The executive who delivers it must take a live photo of your face. The photo is compared to documents and information submitted during the activation process.
- As soon as it arrives, you can switch the SIM card on using the instructions below.
2. How to activate postpaid Vodafone Idea SIM card
Here are 4 ways to activate a postpaid Vodafone Idea SIM card:
1. Ask the delivery person
This is by far the easiest method to activate a postpaid Vi SIM card. The person who delivers your free SIM card is a Vodafone Idea executive and trained to assist in switching the Vi SIM card on.
This is the fastest method to activate Vi SIM cards manually. Follow these steps to switch on a postpaid Vi SIM card:
- From any activated phone number, text: SIMEX [19-20 digit SIM card number] (without brackets) to 55199.
- Tip. You can find the SIM card number either printed on the full-size SIM/mini-SIM card or the SIM card jacket it arrived in.
- You’ll receive a follow-up SMS from 55119 with your SIM card number, but without the last 6 digits.
- Text the missing 6 digits to 55199 within 2 hours, and you’ll receive a success message.
- Insert the SIM card you received from Vi. It will be activated within 20 minutes.
- Tip. This service is only active during business hours. If you send the SMS after, the request is processed during the next business day.
Calling 59059 (from India) via any active phone number is another Vodafone Idea SIM card activation method. The call is recorded and answered by a voice machine. It will issue commands, telling you to enter necessary information such as VI account information, SIM card number, and your identification details. The downsides are that it takes 24 hours for the information to be verified. You also get no feedback. Vi states that it’s activated “once you can send or receive calls or texts”.
4. Visiting a store
Use the Vi Store Locator feature on their website to enter location Pincode or your city name. Visit the nearest store, and bring ‘Proof of Identity’ and ‘Proof of Address’ documents. The carrier recommends that you bring a passport, driving license, Voter ID, or Aadhar card. However, they also accept these identity documents.
2. Steps to activate prepaid Vodafone Idea SIM card
The delivery and activation process for a prepaid SIM card from Vi is identical. The only difference is that it might be automatically activated within a few hours.
3. Instructions to activate a Vi eSIM card
Turning on an eSIM card from VI requires a Vi user account, specifically the email used during the registration. Keep in mind, you can only use one eSIM profile on one Vi payment plan. This means you can use your current Vi payment plan (for a physical SIM) simultaneously with your eSIM. Alternatively, sign up for a new payment plan either for eSIM only, or a new physical SIM + eSIM. With that said, here’s what to do:
- From an active Vodafone Idea SIM card, text: eSIM “e-mail address” to 199. For example, eSIM [email protected] to 199.
- If it matches with a registered user account, you’ll get a confirmation SMS from the same number.
- Reply ESIMY to 199.
- You’ll get a new SMS from 199, asking whether you provide your consent.
- If you do, Vi will call you, and the voice machine will ask the same question. If you confirm, you’ll receive a new notification to your SMS.
- Log in to the e-mail address you provided, and stay connected to the Internet (Wi-Fi, mobile data) on your phone.
- Now, depending on the device, do this:
- Android: Tap on Settings, go to Network & Internet. Under Mobile Network, tap on Download a SIM instead. Tap on Next.
- iOS: Go to Settings. Under Cellular, click on Add Data Plan.
- Now, scan the QR code you received as an e-mail from Vodafone Idea with your camera.
- After the profile is created, your eSIM will be active within 2 hours.
4. Switch current SIM card to Vodafone Idea SIM card without losing phone number
We mentioned the possibility of choosing a current number instead of getting a new one (first headline, step 4). That’s called MNP (Mobile Number Portability). It’s also free with Vi, and possible under 4 conditions:
- You were with your current network for at least 90 days.
This only applies to prepaid/postpaid SIM, not pay-as-you-go SIM cards.
- Vodafone Idea covers that service area.
- You have no outstanding dues with the carrier.
- The current phone number doesn’t have any lawful prohibition from being ported.
Steps required to switch from any carrier to Vodafone Idea
Here’s how to transfer your current phone number to Vodafone Idea:
- Visit Vodafone Idea’s MNP page.
- Enter location Pincode and the phone number you’re switching from.
- Choose a postpaid or prepaid plan.
- Click on Complete your order.
- Your free SIM will soon be delivered to the address you provided.
- Now is the time to begin the process of keeping your number while changing carriers. Internationally, that’s known as acquiring a PAC (Porting Authorisation Code). In India, this is called UPC (Unique Porting Code).
- To get the 8-digit UPC as an SMS, text PORT [10-digit phone number you’re porting] to 1900. For example, PORT 1234567891 to 1900. According to TRAI, this is no longer case sensitive, e.g., you can now also text port or Port.
- UPC expires in 4 days, except in Kashmir, Jammu, Assam, and North East India, where it expires in 15 days.
- When the Vi executive arrives at your address with the free SIM card, go through the identity verification, and supply the UPC you obtained.
- The activation time is as follows:
- 3-5 business days for Vi to finish the MNP request. The exception is the aforementioned areas of India, where it takes up to 15 days. You’ll continue to use your current carrier for the time being.
- Once the MNP request is complete, the VI SIM card is automatically activated within 2-4 hours.