Reliance Jio effect has Airtel, Vodafone packing benefits into its Rs 169 data plan

Users of the Rs 169 plan with 1GB of data for 28 days can now max out 1GB of data every day of the month.

India has been shown to have the lowest data tariff plans of any country in the world courtesy of Reliance Jio in a new report.

Jio's debut in 2016 begun a tariff war that has continued till day and left customers in India spoilt for choice.

Things got intense after Jio released free voice calling among other benefits, that left Airtel, Vodafone, Idea and other competitors with no room to top its new, worthy competitor in Jio.

While smaller telecom companies like Aircel and Telenor Mobile were put out of business entirely, larger players like Vodafone and Idea had to merge to stay in the game.

Reliance Jio effect has Airtel, Vodafone packing benefits into its Rs 169 data plan

Jio. Reuters

In a February 2019 report released by Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI), Vodafone and Airtel lost somewhere close to 2.3 million and 1.5 million subscribers, despite being in the top 2 companies in the telecom market.

But it seems like Airtel and Vodafone Idea have adapted to the new reality — by using Jio's very own strategy to compete with them.

Both companies have added more perks and data benefits to their Rs 169 plans.

Once offering a Rs 169 plan with 1 GB of data valid for 28 days, Airtel and Vodafone Idea users can now max out their 1 GB in a single day, for 28 days of the month. Also part of the package is free local calling, 100 free text messages a day and access to a range of streaming services like Airtel TV, Wynk, and Vodafone Play (which alone is a gateway to roughly 5,000 hours of content and 300 TV channels).

If that doesn't keep customers coming back, what will?

Representational image.

Representational image.

But Reliance Jio already has a data plan in response, costing less and loaded with far more goodies. The new plan to beat is Jio's Rs 149 plan with true unlimited calling (local and national), 1.5 GB of 4G data per day, 100 free text messages a day and access to Jio's suite of entertainment apps like JioCinema, JioSavaan for 28 days.

Vodafone Idea and Airtel need to fight back or they, too, will bow out in a year or two and leave no rival to Reliance Jio but Jio itself.

For now, the battle is still on. And the winner isn't Jio, Airtel or Vodafone Idea — its the happy consumer, spoilt for choice as competitors outcompete each other to offer flashy new data packs at catchy new prices.

(Disclosure: Reliance Industries Ltd is the sole beneficiary of Independent Media Trust which controls Network18 Media & Investments Ltd)

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