RJio effect: Airtel, Vodafone to drop tariffs for post-paid users

Tunia Cherian | | Updated on: Jan 16, 2018


Even as Reliance Jio started giving out new 4G connections today, incumbent operators Airtel and Vodafone have communicated to their subscribers that they will revise tariffs for some of the high-end plans.

“Airtel is also planning some new plans for its post-paid users. You will be hearing about the new plans very soon,” Airtel said in a detailed note circulated through WhatsApp and other social media applications

Airtel and Vodafone have also punched holes in the RJio offer, terming it as a gimmick. The claims made by Reliance Jio that its data plan brings down the cost to ₹50 per GB are applicable only to high-end plans. For example, the ₹299 plan offers only 2GB of data, which makes it ₹150 per GB.

“There is no such plan as Rs 50/GB in Jio. The lowest rate that Jio is offering is Rs 67/GB, that too in a monthly plan of Rs 4,999, which is very expensive. Moreover, for the same you need to buy a 4G compatible handset, which is very costly. Also, if you use your mobile services for voice, you need to spend a minimum Rs 150 for using voice services, which is very expensive. If you use your mobile services for data then you need to spend minimum Rs 500,” Airtel said.

An analysis done by BusinessLine based on actual monthly payouts by mobile users suggest that users who spend more than ₹500 a month stand to gain by switching to RJio, while those who pay less than ₹200 a month may not benefit at all.

Take, for example, a user in Mumbai who currently pays ₹150 a month for making just voice calls with no data usage at all. For this user, the best option available from RJio is the ₹149 plan, which offers unlimited voice calls and 300 MB data. While the data is of no use to him, the RJio plan is valid only for 28 days, which means he will have to pay more for the remaining 2-3 days in the month.

Similarly, somebody who uses a ₹50 top-up plan every month to stay connected with his or her family will not find it beneficial because the lowest plan from RJio is ₹149. The entry level plan is essentially a voice plan as it bundles only 300MB of data but there are cheaper options available in the market.

Users should also have a smartphone that supports 4G and Voice-over LTE. Not all 4G smartphones support Voice-over LTE. This is crucial if the user want to enjoy the free voice calling feature being offered by RJio.

Feature phones, smartphones that support 3G, will not work on RJio network. The minimum price of a phone that works on RJio network is around ₹3,000.

“It is worth noting here that Jio does not offer you fallback option. Which means, at a place where 4G coverage is not there, you would not be able to use Jio services. Whereas in Airtel, in case 4G network is weak/ not available in a place or your handset is not 4G compatible, you may still enjoy the services on the 3G/2G network. Would also like to inform that voice services for Jio are experiencing high congestion and since you are a high-value customer this will impact your business. I would also like to reassure you that Airtel has the best network and data speeds across the country,” Airtel said.

Initially, there could also be network disruption as RJio is yet to get proper interconnection in place with other operators. Interconnection is important for seamless conversations between two operators.

“Would also like to inform that voice services for Jio are experiencing high congestion and since you are high value customer this will impact your business,” said Vodafone in a similar communication to customers.

Published on September 05, 2016
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