Reliance Industries Chairman Mukesh Ambani today announced free voice calling, zero roaming charges and cheaper data tariffs for Jio customers.
Ambani also announced a 'free welcome offer' for Jio customers from September 5 till December 31. R Jio will offer users data services free for four months, after which it will offer 10 tariff plans starting at Rs 19 a day for occasional users, Rs 149 a month for low data users and Rs 4,999 a month for heavy data users.
Devoting an hour of his speech at the RIL's 42th Annual General Meeting, the billionaire industrialist said Jio is targeting 100 million users in a shortest possible time.
The company also announced "super-affordable" handsets under the LYF brand starting Rs 2999.
Ambani said: "Customers should pay for only one service, voice or data not both.... Worldwide operators charge only for data, and voice and messages are free... All voice calls for Jio customer will be absolutely free... The era of paying for voice calls is ending. Jio will usher India into the new era."
He said roaming charges will also be nil across India for Jio customers.
Stating that the data must be "affordable", he said Jio's base rate will be one-tenth of the prevailing data rates.
"In our data plans, the effective rates will be 5p per MB or Rs 50 per GB... The more data you use, the lower will be the rate," he said.
Differentiating Jio's 4G services from others in the market, he said that pricing strategy should be "simple" for every India.
"There are 22,000 telecom tariffs across country. Jio's pricing strategy only has 10 main plans," he said promising that Jio users would also not face any blackout days such as Diwali and New Year when operators tend to charge double.
Ambani also announced a discount offer for students under which they will get 25 percent more data on Jio's tariffs.
Under the free welcome offer, which Ambani termed as the largest introductory offer anywhere in the world, the company is offering free data, voice and video "to everyone absolutely free" starting 5 September till 31 December, 2016.
The AGM comes at a time when the new entrant is locked in a dispute with the existing cellular operators on the points of interconnect. Reliance Jio has accused incumbent players of not releasing sufficient interconnection ports during its test run of services while the existing operators (under the aegis of COAI) have dubbed its testing of network as an effort to bypass regulations.
At the previous AGM in June 2015, Ambani had stated that 2016-17 would be the first full year of operation of the company's telecom arm, Reliance Jio Infocomm. Besides shedding light on the telecom venture, he may spell out completion details of the $30 billion worth of petrochemical and downstream projects.
Even as it is engaged in a spat with incumbent operators over points of inter-connection, Reliance Jio has been expanding its free 90-day unlimited calls and high-speed mobile broadband trial offer to 4G smartphone users of brands such as HTC, Intex, Vivo, Gionee, Karbonn and Lava.
Jio service is already available on Sony, Sansui, Videocon, LG, Samsung, Micromax, Panasonic, Asus, TCL, Alcatel 4G smartphones, and the industry estimates that its reach may now extend to about potentially 75-80 per cent 4G phone users.
Under the offer, the owner of a 4G-compliant handset from any of these brands can carry it to Reliance Digital stores, including Digital Xpress and Digital Xpress Mini, and other retail stores for a free Reliance Jio SIM.
At the store, the customer is required to share the code generated on his phone with the help of a Jio mobile app. He can then get the Jio SIM, subject to submission of KYC documents.
Under the preview offer, customers can enjoy unlimited access to Jio services for 90 days from activation of Jio SIM. The 4G service includes unlimited voice calls and video calls, SMS, 4G mobile broadband and applications like JioOnDemand (for movies), JioLive (for live TV shows) and JioXpressNews, among others.
As Reliance Jio's commercial launch nears, telecom operators like Airtel, Vodafone and Idea have also slashed tariffs and bundled free calls with data to woo customers and drive mass market adoption.
Disclosure: Firstpost is part of Network18 Media & Investment Limited which is owned by Reliance Industries Limited.