No end to data wars: Reliance Jio free offers to continue for 12-18 months

Reliance Jio likely to continue free offers
The free schemes and recharge options that Reliance Jio is offering to its customers is likely to continue for the next 12-18 months, which means other telecom services providers like Airtel, Vodafone and BSNL will have to step up efforts to counter Jio's strategy. 

Jio's tactic would lead to pressure on the average revenue per user (ARPU) of incumbent operators, US bank Morgan Stanley said in a report. It added that ARPU for Bharti Airtel, Idea Cellular and Vodafone India has been effectively capped at about Rs 300 due to Jio’s current offers, a report published in The Economic Times said. 

Jio prepaid plans start from as low as Rs 19, and go up to Rs. 9,999, while postpaid plans are available at Rs. 309, Rs. 509, and Rs. 999 denomination. Jio launched its 4G service commercially on September 5, 2016 for free and crossed 50 million subscribers in just 83 days, and 100 million in 170 days, adding at an average rate of 6 lakh subscribers per day.

The company said that in terms of data usage it "has become the largest network globally" and plans to add one lakh mobile sites in coming months to double the network size.

The Morgan Stanley report mentioned that Jio, which started services on September 5, has netted 6 per cent of the country’s wireless subscribers and aims to get at least 15 per cent. 

Reliance Jio extended the free usage period for Jio services to its existing and new customers till March 31, 2017. Jio reached the 100 million user mark in the first 170 days, adding consumers at an average of 600,000 a day. 

Meanwhile, Reliance Jio Infocomm on Monday posted a net loss of Rs 22.50 crore for the six months ended March 31, 2017, as the company provided free voice and data services since its launch on September 5, 2016. The loss pertained to not just free voice and data services unleashed by its brand reliance Jio, but also on account of employee cost, finance cost, depreciation and other expenses.

Reliance Jio and its recharge offers 

Reliance Jio is currently offering three recharge offers to its prime users.

Rs 149 plan: The subscriber gets 2 GB high-speed 4G data for 28 days. In addition, there are free voice calls, Jio apps and 300 sms bundled with the offer.

Rs 309 offer: The subscriber gets 1 GB high-speed 4G data per day for 28 days. In addition, there are free voice calls, sms and Jio apps bundled with the offer.

Rs 509 offer: The subscriber gets 2 GB high-speed 4G data per day complimentary for 28 days. In addition, there are free voice calls, sms and Jio apps bundled with the offer.

For non-Prime members, the telecom operator is offering the above-mentioned plans at Rs 408 and Rs 608 (Jio Prime membership fee and regular recharge price).

The above-mentioned plans are not available for customers already registered for Jio Summer Surprise offer.

What are others offering? 



Airtel is offering up to 30 GB of additional free data for the next three months. The offer can be availed using 'My Airtel' app by April 30. The offer is valid for users who joined Airtel network before 28 February.


Rs 399 plan: Under this pack, users will get 1 GB data per day only if they have a 4G smartphone and SIM card. The free calls incentive comes with a 3,000 minutes cap for a 70-day period. When the minutes gets exhausted, users will be charged Rs 0.10 a minute. For Airtel-Airtel calls, the limit is 300 minutes per day, but 1,200 minutes is the maximum consumption per week.

Rs 345 plan: From 1 GB data per day, Airtel is now offering 2 GB data for the same amount. Similar to the Rs 399 plan, users get the same free calls benefit with a cap. Where earlier, users were restricted to 500 megabyte (MB) from 12am-6pm and the other 500 MB available for rest of the day, the offer now holds no such limitation.

Rs 244 plan: For 4G smartphone and 4G SIM card users, one can get 1 GB date per day for 70 days under fair usage policy.  Although, the offer claims to provide unlimited free STD and local calls, uers get 1,200 minutes on calls made to other networks and 300 minutes of free Airtel to Airtel. Upon full consumption of the free minutes, users will be charged Rs 0.10 per minute.


Rs 352 recharge offer: Vodafone is offering 1GB data per day for 56 days along with unlimited local and STD calls.

The offer is not available on Vodafone website or on the app but the user can avail it by recharging the account with the amount of by visiting the nearby Vodafone store or outlet.

Idea Cellular

Rs 297 recharge: The recharge offers 1GB of data per day for 70 days and is available for users with a 4G SIM and 4G smartphone only. The plan also includes 300 minutes of free calling per day and 1,200 minutes per week to other operators. Post 1,200 minutes the users will be charged at 30 paisa per minute.

Rs 447 recharge:  The recharge offers 1GB of data per day and free calling feature on any network for 70 days limited to 3,000 minutes. Post 3,000 minutes the users will be charged at 30 paisa per minute.

What do reports suggest? 

Trai report: New telecom operator Reliance Jio's average download speed at 16.48 mbps was almost double of its rivals Idea Cellular and Bharti Airtel's in March, a report by telecom regulator Trai has showed.

IndiaOpenSignal report: Bharti Airtel is the best performer among Indian mobile service providers in terms of 4G data speed, shows the first India report by IndiaOpenSignal, a provider of insights into coverage and performance of mobile operators worldwide.

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