mobile-phone-call-free-image

Just weeks after Reliance Jio extended its welcome offer of free calls and 4G data, Airtel and Idea introduced new bundled tariff plans with data and unlimited free calls. Jio’s tariff scheme ranges from Rs 149 up till Rs 1499 offering unlimited voice calls to any networks, with varying amount of bundled 4G data on each pack. Below is a review of Airtel’s and Idea’s new bundled plans and how it matches up with Jio.

Airtel has introduced two bundled packs with unlimited calls:
Rs 145 pack provides 300 MB of 3G/4G data with unlimited free local and STD minutes within the Airtel network. The pack has a validity of 28 days. Comparatively Jio is offering unlimited free calls to any network at Rs 149 bundled with 300 MB of 4G data.
Rs 354 pack offers 1GB 3G/4G data with free calls to local and STD to any network in India with a validity of 28 days. On the other hand, Jio provides 2 GB data with unlimited calls at lower price of Rs 299

Idea’s bundled packs with unlimited calls:
Rs 148 pack offers 300 MB of data bundled with unlimited local and STD minutes for Idea-to-Idea calls with a 28 day validity
Rs 348 pack offers 1GB of data with unlimited call on local and STD to any network in India for 28 days.

What operators said about Jio in the past

Both Airtel and had mentioned earlier that it would also start providing bundled packs once Jio ends its free welcome offer and starts charging users. During a recent conference call with analysts, Airtel’s CEO Gopal Vittal said that the company will look into offering voice+data bundled packs, “in a much more aggressive way”, but this was planned “at a later stage”.  Idea’s CEO Himanshu Kapania said during a con call: “We will wait to see how the customer will enjoy free services (from Jio) and we will wait at the side rather than react.”

However, it’s evident that neither wanted wait until March 2017 to wait for Jio’s free offer to end. One explanation to the early launch could reason could be that both operators witnessed a decline in ARPU and realization rates on both voice and data. During Q2 FY17, which is the same quarter that Jio launched:

  • Airtel’s Data ARPU decreased by 0.5% Quarter on Quarter (QoQ) to Rs 201. Idea’s data ARPU stood at Rs 160 against Rs INR 202 in same quarter last year.
  • Airtel’s voice ARPU decreased by 5% QoQ to Rs 132, while Idea’s voice ARPU was down  to its lowest ever (in the financial year) at Rs 122 compared to INR126 in Q2 FY16.
  • Although both Airtel and Idea’s data consumption rates (from users) posted an increase, Aitel’s voice usage per customer was down to 406 minutes in Q2 FY17 from 414 minutes in previous quarter. Idea’s average voice consumption per subscriber was at its lowest ever (for the financial year) at 368 minutes in Q2 FY17.