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BSNL upgrades its plans to offer more data and unlimited calling

State-owned telco BSNL has upgraded some of its bundled (voice+data) plans by adding more data and unlimited voice calling, reports ET. BSNL’s decision to increase data offerings in some of it plans come after Reliance Jio announced that it will start charging users after almost 6 months of promotions.  Here is what is changing in some BSNL packs:

-The Rs 99 plan now offers unlimited calling within the BSNL network, bundled with 500 MB of data. The Rs 99 plan earlier offered only 300 MB of data (28 days).
-The Rs 339 pack is upgraded to offer unlimited calls to any network (capped at 25 minutes a day for calls outside BSNL networks), bundled with 2GB of data for 28 days. This pack earlier offered 1 GB of data.

Apart from this, BSNL is also offering 1GB of data usage free to all users for a period of 1 year if a user makes the above recharges within March. This seems more like a strategy to combat Reliance Jio. However, Jio’s prime membership unveiled last month is comparatively offering better data and voice benefits: The membership starts at Rs 99 per year, which offers extended free voice calls and free data (capped at 1GB per day) until March 2018 for a price of Rs 303 per month. Prime members will also have special data offers and higher data usage packs, apart from generic tariff plans starting at Rs 149 per month, which offers unlimited calls without any restrictions, bundled with 1GB of data (28 days validity).

Telecom industry’s shift towards an ARPU led business

BSNL isn’t the only operator that has taken the bundled voice+data usage to combat Jio. Jio’s rivals including Airtel, Idea, Vodafone, RCOM unveiled upgraded unlimited calling plans with added data in this month after Jio’s announced its pricing. However, it is important to note that the telecom industry is now focusing more on generating ample ARPU and retaining high-value users, instead of a tariff led strategy that existed before the commercial launch of Jio.

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During a recent analyst call, RCOM’s CEO Gurdeep Singh said that the telecom industry has shifted from being a tariff-based business to “a capacity and a volume-led play” wherein “the pricing structure is getting transferred from per minute or a per MB to ARPU-led structure.” According to him, ARPU-led plans being offered by RCOM like the Rs 149 pack with unlimited calling and 300MB data is “aimed at consumers who have large voice needs and have a smaller data requirement”.


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