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IDEA Cellular – Everything You Wanted to Know



IDEA Cellular, which is head by Kumar Mangalam Birla, is another popular Telecommunication company in India. As per the subscriber number till 31st December 2015, it is the third largest mobile operator in the country. The number we are talking about here is around 182 Million, which is huge. The Telecom giant is popularly used in the state of Maharashtra, as well as Gujarat and Andhra Pradesh. It operates in 2G, 3G, and 4G services, which were recently launched in some selected cities.

Incepted in 1991 as a result of the partnership between three giants, Aditya Birla Group, Tata Group and AT&T Wireless, they each held one-third equity in the company. Though, in the year of 2004, AT&T Wireless merged with Cingular Wireless Cingular decided to sell off its 32.9% stake in IDEA. The stakes were equally bought by two stakeholders. But later, Tata started their own subsidiary under the name Tata Indicom, which is a CDMA based mobile provider. In 2006, Aditya Birla Group announced that they had bought Tata Group’s stakes at Rs 44.06 Billion. Though, the later in 2009, 19.96% stakes were sold to Malaysia-based Axiata Group. Somewhere in between all of these stakes exchanges, Birla Group decided to rename this venture as Idea Cellular Limited and thus introduced a brand name, IDEA.

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As of first quarter of 2016, the company claims that they have around 1.5 Lakh cell sites, which is covering more than 7500 towns and 3.63 Lakh villages across the country. In 2014, the company won 3G spectrum for Delhi metro as well as 4G LTE spectrum for 8 circles. With company cashing in that 4G LTE spectrum in the coming months, existing users can expect better connectivity.

This article is for those who are either IDEA SIM card users or planning to become one. Below you can read the extensive guide where we answer every query you may have about the IDEA Cellular network. Note if any of your queries were not fulfilled, you could just give your feedback in the comments section below and we will try to get back to you ASAP.

Disclaimer: The plans that you see below are for our Home Circle, which is Andhra Pradesh & Telangana. So, it might be possible that rates are different in your circle. You can check the plans for your home circle on company’s official website.

Table of Contents


Did you know that mobile telephony is done over a set of frequencies that needs to be licensed by the Department of Telecommunication (DoT). The telecom authority does auction every year where the popular frequencies like 900 MHz, 1800 MHz, and 2100 MHz is sold to the highest bidder. Note that these licenses are sold on a lease basis, meaning a company can operate under the acquired spectrum for a certain period that ranges from 10 to 15 years.

As of March 2015 data, Idea Cellular has renewed its crucial 900 MHz spectrum and has won additional 54 MHz of 900 MHz spectrum. Across India, the telecom company overall won 79.4 MHz spectrum in the nine circles where it is a leader. That area covers around 73% of company’s revenues. While talking about the acquisition of frequencies in 1800 MHz spectrum, apart from its old acquisitions over the past years, the company recently won 1800 MHz spectrum in six circles, which amounts for 20.4 MHz of 1800 MHz. While they also got the 5 MHz quantum acquired in 2100 MHz in Kolkata circle.

What is a Prepaid SIM Card

Prepaid SIM card is when you are asked to pay upfront to get the balance on your SIM card. Once you have recharged the balance, then only you can make a call, text or data.

How to Get a Prepaid SIM Card

To get a Prepaid SIM card of Idea, you would have to first find the store. To find the nearest store in your area, you can either call a Customer Service or visit their website. On the right-hand side, you’ll see a Store Locator on company’s website. Select the Circle, City, and Area and then click on Find. Once you do that, a list of stores will open. You can see the store name, address, working hours and services offered.

Note that before heading to any of these Idea Stores you would have to take along some prerequisites. The Idea staff would ask you a set of documents needed to be attached with the application form for new Prepaid connection.


  • Passport-size Self Attested Photograph
  • Xerox copy of Government Issue Photo Identity
  • Proof of Address

Below you can see the list of Proof of Identity, which is valid for attaching with a form for Prepaid connection. Note you need to carry only one document from the list.

  • Income Tax PAN Card
  • Photo Credit Card
  • Voter ID Card
  • Passport
  • Arm’s Licence
  • Driving Licence
  • Identity Card issued by Central / State Government
  • Identity Card issued by Public Sector Undertakings
  • Ration Card with your Photo
  • Government College / University Identity Card

There might be a probability that the Proof of Identity won’t have you present address. In that case, you need to make sure you have a separate document proving your current address. So, we have listed the Proof of Address that is valid and should be taken along. Note again; you only need to take one document out of the below list.

  • Electricity Bill of State company (not older than last 3 months)
  • Telephone Bill of Fixed Line (not older than last 3 months)
  • Water Bill (not older than last 3 months)
  • Ration card
  • Income Tax Assessment Order (not Older than one year)
  • Vehicle Registration Certificate(RC)
  • Registered Sale/Lease (Rent) Agreement

What is a Postpaid SIM Card

Postpaid SIM card is when you don’t have to pay upfront and can enjoy all the facility as you go. Like calls, data and text. Though, do make a note that you have to select the plan according to your usage needs. Then that bill needs to be paid at the end of the month cycle when it is generated by the company.

How to Get a Postpaid SIM Card

Getting a Postpaid connection is easy and involves mostly similar steps to be followed as one does for Prepaid connection as you can read above. I’ll repeat the detailed procedure in brief. First head over to the website to find the nearest Idea store, then note down their address, or you could call customer service to find out the nearest store. Anything that is convenient for you. Now whenever you are visiting the Idea Store, all you have to do is ask for a Postpaid connection instead of a Prepaid. Do make a note that you have to take along the prerequisites, which you can find, listed above.

What Cities have Idea Cellular Public Wi-Fi in India?

Idea Cellular offers Wi-Fi Hotspot services in India, as Airtel, Vodafone and Jio are offering. Though, the company is not quite forward about it as there is no such information available on their official website. But as we found out that in 2013, the telecom brand started the soft launch of their Wi-Fi service in 5 select cities including Ahmedabad, Cochin, Pune, Hyderabad and Vizag. This service was launched in prepay and postpay plans. The official website link that was found is not working now. So, it can be possible that the service is no longer available or may be available to access by different URL.

Below you can see the Idea Wi-Fi hotspot location. Note that some of them are Public while some are for Society.

IDEA WiFi Hotspot Locations

How to Connect to the Ideal Cellular Wi-Fi Hotspot?

You are residing in the Idea Wi-Fi Hotspot enabled Society or are at a Public Wi-Fi hotspot and want to connect. Well, it is quite easy, just follow the below instructions. Note we have to use different steps if you are trying to connect on a smartphone or computer.

Connect on Smartphones:

  • Open the Settings app.
  • Tap once on Wi-Fi option under the Wireless & Networks. Make sure it’s enabled.
  • Select the Idea_wifi in the list of Wi-Fi connections you see.
  • Automatically a page should load showing up the Idea login page. If that doesn’t happen, open a browser and try to load a site as you would be redirected to the Idea login page.
  • Select the plan you want, pay and you shall receive the credential for accessing the internet.
    Start browsing on your smartphone.

Connect on Laptop:

  • Open the Network Settings in your system.
  • Switch ON the Wi-Fi if it wasn’t before.
  • You should see a list of nearby Wi-Fi Hotspots.
  • Select the Idea_wifi SSID.
  • Now the default browser should automatically open a login page.
  • Select the plan, pay and make sure you have received the credentials for login.
  • Start browsing internet.

How to Port your Mobile Number to Idea Cellular

If you weren’t already aware, Idea touts itself as the country’s Number 1 MNP operator, since the introduction of Mobile Number Portability in 2011. This service allows you to switch the mobile network if you are not satisfied with the service of your current operator, while still keeping the same mobile number that you have been using for years. Below steps to be followed on your current network SIM.

Porting to Idea Cellular is quite easy; all you have to do is follow below steps.

  • Type a message saying, PORT Mobile Number.
  • Send it to 1900 and you’re done.
  • Now you should receive a USC code.
  • Note down the code and save it somewhere because it’s crucial information.

You will be asked to showcase the USC code once you reach the store. Next instructions are similar to getting a new postpaid or prepaid connection. Just don’t forget to mention the staffs about the MNP that you want to keep your old number. There would be a separate application form that you would need to fill.

How to Port your Mobile Number from Idea Cellular

Well, Idea didn’t expect you to be searching for this procedure. Fortunately, for you, we don’t endorse. As you were searching to get rid of Idea Cellular network but wants to keep that mobile number that has been with you forever. Good news is that you can come to that hassle-free. Just follow below instructions on your Idea SIM enabled smartphone.

  • Type PORT Mobile Number
  • Send it to 1900. That’s it.
  • You’ll see a USC Code.
  • Save the code. It’s the vital information for you to switch to a new operator.

Note that if you are a Corporate customer, which in the case of Postpaid plans happens. If that’s the case, then you would have to take an NOC (No Objection Certificate) that should be duly signed and stamped on company letterhead by the authorized signatory. You need to carry this document along with you to the store.

Prepaid Tariff for Voice, SMS, Video & Data

Below you can see the tariffs for Voice, SMS, Video and Data for IDEA Prepaid SIM card subscribers. Note the home circle and roaming rates varies.

IDEA - Prepaid Tariffs

Postpaid Tariff for Voice, SMS, Video & Data

The image you see below showcases the tariffs for voice, SMS, video, as well as data. The Idea Postpaid users would be charged according to the charges you see in the below table.

IDEA - Postpaid Tariffs

Prepaid Internet Data Plans for 3G/4G/LTE

Below is the image of a table where you can see the Data plans that Prepaid Idea users can avail for the 3G/4G data speeds. Note that 3G and 4G rates are probably the same.

IDEA - Prepaid Internet Plans

Postpaid Internet Data Plans for 3G/4G/LTE

Idea Cellular Postpaid users can check out these plans if they are primarily looking for good data benefits as per there needs. Note that these plans are valid for both 3G and 4G services.

IDEA - Postpaid Internet Plans Part

Postpaid Ultimate Plans

There are four type of unlimited plans that IDEA offers under 3G/4G service. They include 4G-3G Ultimate 99, 1499, 1999 and 2999. You can see the example of what all benefits would be included in these Ultimate Plans for IDEA postpaid users.

IDEA - Ultimate Postpaid Plan

What are the Value Added Services available on Idea

Value Added Service, it is a set of service that is offered by telecom operators apart from the calls, messages, and mobile internet. While it is called as VAS by Department of Telecommunication, many telecom operators use custom names define their VAS services. Some of the services that you would find include Caller Tunes, Astrology, Cricket Scores, Movie, Music, News and a lot of more things.

Activate Value Added Services on Idea

If you were looking to subscribe to the Value Added Services on your Idea mobile number well it is quite easy to do so. Just type an SMS, SUB and send it to 54300. You shall receive a message from Idea stating all the services provided by the company. With respect to the list of services, you will receive service ID for each service. Remember you have to type that after you enter SUB Service ID and send it to 54300. Note that you can later unsubscribe to these services if you don’t want to continue.

Deactivate Value Added Services on Idea

Unsubscribing to any Value Added Services on your Idea Cellular number through SMS is quite easy. Just create a text message stating, STOP and send it to 155223. You should soon receive a list of activated services on your device. That way you can easily see what all services you want to unsubscribe too. There would be a service ID in front of every activated service, which should be used in a format to send for deactivating the service. The format is very simple, all you have to do is the just type, UNSUB Service ID and send it to 54300. You would have to do this for individual services. Note that not all services can be unsubscribed at once, while come services would be deactivated instantly, some would take up at least 24 hours for deactivation.

MIFI (Mobile Hotspot) Facility & Features

Idea Cellular offers mobile wi-fi hotspot devices and dongles, which allows you to get online quickly on your smartphones and laptops. With this way, you don’t have to worry about draining the battery life on your mobile device by using mobile data and tethering. Taking along the internet enabled hotspot or plug n play device is something in a trend is more convenient as well.

Currently, despite their 4G services rolling out country-wide, where they have got a license to operate, the Idea Cellular doesn’t offer 4G speeds supported Netsetter (dongles) or Smartwifi (Mobile Wi-Fi). So, if you are in a need to purchase any of the dongles or mobile wifi devices, then you would be seeing 3G speeds. The dongles pricing varies from Rs 1550 to Rs 2700; there are currently four devices listed by company. Among these devices you will see different features, while all dongles are plug n play, they vary with speeds, internet sharing, and microSD card support. It is interesting to note that Smart Wifi Hub is a compact modem which is built in 1500mAh capacity battery. Meaning it doesn’t need to be connected to a USB port in order to work, unlike other dongles.

APN Details

Talking about the APN, if you’re in this section, it means you are not able to access the internet on your smartphone. The primary reason might be that you have not received the internet settings from the company, which should be as it’s an automatic procedure. Well, no worries, all you have to do is follow the simple instructions that we have shared below.

For Android Smartphones

  • Launch the Settings app on your device.
  • Head to Wireless & Networks section in the app.
  • There you’ve to find Mobile Networks/Cellular Networks. In some handsets, you would have to tap on More; then only you can find Mobile Networks.
  • Once you tap on the Mobile Network, you will see a set of options. Select Access Point Names.
  • Note, if the smartphone is dual SIM enabled, then you will see a tabbed manner showing both SIM cards. Tap on IDEA enabled SIM card and access that APN option.
  • Tapping on APN you will see a new window open. If nothing’s there, tap on ADD APN.
    Enter the details you see below in the table.
Access Number*99***#
Authentication Type[Blank]

Table 1.1 APN details for Android Smartphones

For iOS – iPhone, iPad

  • Launch the Settings app.
  • Scroll to the General option tap on Network.
  • Select the ADD option in the list.
  • Enter the APN details you see below.

Table 1.2 APN Settings for iOS devices


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