Free voice calls: Airtel, Idea unleash tariff war against Reliance Jio

Airtel and Idea will provide 1GB of 4G data to customers with 4G mobile phone and 50 MB for non-4G mobile handset users under the plan
Call charges at night, midnight, by minute, seconds are a thing of the past. Indian telecom operators have unleashed a tariff war against Mukesh Ambani's Reliance Jio and of course here too consumer is the king.
Telecom operators Bharti Airtel and Idea Cellular launched free calls schemes on Thursday to take on Jio's lowest tariff plan which costs Rs149, and offers free calls and 300 MB data bundled together.
To match Jio's unlimited calling plan, Airtel and Idea announced schemes priced at Rs 345 and Rs 348 respectively, that will allow their customers to make unlimited calls to any network in the country.
Both the companies will provide 1GB of 4G data to customers with 4G mobile phone and 50 MB for non-4G mobile handset users under the plan.
State-owned BSNL too has said it is considering new "less than" Rs 149 pre paid pack that will offer free calls to all networks.
Here are the details of the plans launched by Airtel and Idea
Airtel's Rs 145 Pack - Users will get 300 MB of 4G data and unlimited free local and STD Airtel-to-Airtel calls for 28 days. The pack will offer 50 MB data (in addition to free Airtel-to-Airtel calls across India) to customers with basic mobile phones
Airtel's Rs 345 pack - This pack offers unlimited free local/STD calls to any network in India and 1GB 4G data. The pack offers 50 MB data in addition to free calls to any network across India to customers with basic mobile phones. The pack has a validity of 28 days.
Idea's Rs 148 pack - Idea customers will be able to make free Local and STD Idea-to-Idea calls across India and get 50MB of data. Customers with 4G handsets will get 300 MB of data in addition to voice benefit. The pack will be valid upto 28 days
Idea's Rs 348 pack - This scheme will offer free Local and STD calls across all networks in India along with 50MB of data. In the same pack, customers with 4G handsets will get 1 GB of data in addition to voice benefit. The pack has a validity of 28 days.
Ever since the arrival of Mukesh Ambani's Jio, Telecom operators have been strained to remain in the league. 
Reliance Jio - which garnered 52 million customer base in the first three months of 4G launch - recently announced extension of free domestic voice calls and data till March 31, 2017  in the Happy New Year Plan. Even after March, the company would offer free calls for life to its 4G customers.
Industry watchers are of the view that extension of free services by Reliance Jio will add to the woes of the industry which is already reeling under Rs 4,25,000-crore debt.
Commenting on the tariff war, triggered post Jio's launch in September, that left other operators in jitters, Telecom Minister Manoj Sinha, "If you look at the history of the telecom sector over the last 18-20 years, whenever a tariff war has been unleashed, it has benefited the consumer. "I believe that consumer is the king and any government that works for the people will agree to this".



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