Ahead of the launch by Reliance Jio Infocomm, expected in a couple of months, existing telecom operators have made their data services substantially cheaper.
They include market leader Bharti Airtel and Idea Cellular. They’ve not cut data prices but raised the benefits in their packs. Vodafone is likely to act similarly in the coming days. The move is to both protect their turf against competition from Jio and also increase data consumption.
Airtel is giving more benefits in the same set of data packs, effectively reducing prices by up to 67 per cent for prepaid customers. Idea’s mobile internet rates for such customers are now cheaper by 45 per cent.
Jio has announced it would launch commercial fourth-generation technology (4G) services in six to eight weeks. Analysts have said data rates are expected to fall 15-20 per cent with the entry of Jio
Jio has said it already has under its preview offer about 1.5 million test-users, with average monthly consumption of each in excess of 26 GB; voice usage is 355 minutes.
Airtel said under the revised data benefits, the Rs 655 4G/3G monthly recharge pack will now offer 5 GB data versus 3 GB earlier, an increase of 67 per cent.
Its Rs 455 4G/3G pack now offers 50 per cent more data by increasing data benefits to 3 GB from the earlier 2 GB. The Rs 989 4G/3G pack will now offer 10 GB data vs 6.5 GB earlier, offering 54 per cent more. The 2G/3G/4G sachet packs will also increase the data benefits. The Rs 25 2G one now offers 45 per cent more data at 145 MB vs 100 MB earlier.
The Rs 145 4G/3G pack now offers 32 per cent more data benefits at 580 MB vs 440 MB earlier. Even the Rs 5 one-day 2G data pack benefits have been increased by 48 per cent to 30 MB, keeping in mind non-regular/first-time users, particularly in rural markets.
Similarly, Idea users can get up to 45 per cent more data benefits on sachet packs below 1 GB.
Idea offers a wide range of 4G/3G/2G packs, priced between Rs 8 and Rs 225. Its 2G data pack, priced at Rs 19 and offering 75 MB data for three days, will now offer 110 MB data for three days, 45 per cent more value. A 4G/3G data pack for Rs 22 which offers 65 MB data for three days will now give 90 MB 3G data for three days, 38 per cent more benefit.
Analysts had predicted Jio would focus largely on data and probably have a limited impact on incumbents’ core voice business, given weak ‘voice-over-LTE’ technology.
WAR OF BYTES
Airtel & Idea have not cut data prices but raised the benefits in packs
Vodafone likely to act similarly in the coming days
Airtel reducing prices of data packs by up to 67% for prepaid customers
Idea’s mobile internet rates for prepaid customers slashed by 45%