There’s another tariff war under way. Airtel, India’s largest telecom operator, has introduced two plans for post-paid customers which will give them unlimited free calls along with bundled 3G and 4G data. On the plans, Airtel will allow customers to make local, STD and roaming calls. In addition they will also get 100 SMS free and subscription to Wynk Music and Wynk Videos
There are two plans – one for Rs 1199 which has 1GB for 4G/3G data and Rs 1599 gives users 5GB of 4G/3G data. The new plans will also offer a pay-as- go-rate of only 50p/MB post exhaustion of the data limit.
However, it needs to be pointed out that Airtel’s mobile base is primarily on pre-paid which account for more that 94% of its connections.
In Q1 FY17 the company reported that Airtel users are consuming substantially more data: 904 MB per month, from 706 MB last year.
Note that Reilance Jio has extended its preview offer where customers get free unlimited 4G data for three months. They can also make unlimited VoLTE calls for free.
Airtel, Vodafone and Idea increasing data
Anticipating competition from Reliance Jio, the top three telecom operators in India have started slashing data tariffs and extending data usage. Idea Cellular has reduced the tariffs of its prepaid 2G, 3G and 4G internet packs across all circles. Idea’s 2G pack for Rs 19 and offering 75MB for 3 days validity will now provide 110MB instead. The 3G/4G pack costing Rs 22 for 65MB of data for 3 days will provide 90MB 3G data for the same validity.
Airtel, on the other hand , has increased the data amount in its prepaid data packs. The 3G/4G pack costing Rs 655 and offering 3GB data will now provide 5GB instead for a month. The 3G/4G pack for Rs 455 will offer 3GB instead of the previous 2GB, while the Rs 989 pack will offer 10GB instead of the previous 6.5GB.
To attract more data users in India, Vodafone will waive off bills no questions asked for customers who experience first time bill shock. “We’ve also increased allowances impacts greater than Rs 350 rupees by about 25% to 40%, as well whilst holding price points. So I think it’s more about stimulation of the market, ahead of Jio coming in and making sure that we offer good value to the higher value customers as well,” CFO Nick Read said in an analyst call.