Telecom operators have no plans to extend recharge validity period

Rajesh Kurup Mumbai | Updated on May 11, 2020 Published on May 11, 2020

Retail outlets opening up; other recharge channels too available

Telecom operators have no plans to extend validity period of pre-paid connections for the rest of the lockdown period, as retail outlets in many parts of the country are beginning to open up.

“The major reason is that the government has permitted opening up of retail outlets in many locales, and we don’t see subscribers facing any recharging issues,” Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) Director-General Rajan S Mathews told BusinessLine, confirming it.

“Further, many operators have enabled recharging through other channels such as ATMs, post offices, grocery stores, chemist shops and digital channels, among others,” he said.

India has a total of 1.1 billion SIM cards in use, of which nearly 98 per cent are pre-paid connections. Earlier, about 10 per cent of the total 1.1 billion SIMs were not being recharged. There are 650 million people with smartphones, who are able to recharge their connections over the web.

During the first two stages of lockdown — first announced on March 25 till April 14 and then extended to May 17 — nearly 100 million mobile users were unable to recharge their pre-paid connections as retail outlets across the country were shutdown.

READ THE STORY: Nearly 100 million pre-paid mobile users in India unable to recharge their connections

Telecom operators Bharti Airtel, Vodafone Idea and Reliance Jio Infocomm had extended the validity of mobile pre-paid packs till May 3. The extension was to enable feature phone users continue to receive incoming calls, even if the validity of their plan expired.

READ THE STORY: Airtel, Voda-Idea extend free incoming to low-end customers till May 3

On its part, COAI had written to secretaries of all States urging them to open up recharge locations, while the association also followed up the issue with various District Magistrates.

Earlier, Vodafone Idea launched VIC, an AI-powered virtual assistant for customer service and support for both its Vodafone and Idea brands.

RJio, expecting work from home (WFH) to be the new norm, had launched a new plan that provides 33 per cent more data than existing industry tariffs.

READ THE STORY: RJio launches new WFH data plans

Published on May 11, 2020

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