Reliance Jio has switched from its own payment gateway to third party firm BillDesk. Yesterday and for some part of today, Jio’s payment gateway was not responding, India Today reported; we had noticed this as well. Throughout yesterday, Jio’s website was dealing with “unprecedented load”, the company said in a message. One of the two following errors were seen yesterday and today when trying to subscribe to Jio Prime:

And:

It is unclear how long BillDesk will stand in for JioMoney’s gateway. On top of Jio Prime, BillDesk is currently handling all transactions for Jio’s website, including recharges.

The Jio Prime effect?

The gateway probably crumbled under the magnitude of traffic that it received yesterday, when Jio Prime released. Jio’s Prime service, which was announced last month, is the company’s first step towards monetising its multi-million user base. Offered at ₹99 for the whole year, the subscription gives users access to much cheaper data plans than the ones announced last September. For ₹303, Jio Prime users will get 1GB of data a day for a month, and 2GB a day for ₹499.

Jio says that Prime subscriptions will only be open for purchase in March, which explains the rush. The number of subscriptions it gets will be an interesting indicator of how many of the network’s subscribers are in it for the long term.

100mn subscribers — how many will subscribe to Prime?

Jio claimed last month that it now has over 100 million subscribers (although this number could be slightly inflated, as each person is allowed to get 9 SIM cards), up from 72 million this January. 100 million subscriptions over a period of just five months is unprecedented, and Jio Prime subscription numbers will highlight how many of these subscribers are going to drive material revenue in the coming year. While announcing the Prime service last month, RIL chairman Mukesh Ambani said that Jio users have used more than 2 billion minutes of voice and video calling, and more than 1 billion GB of data.