The craze of Reliance Jio 4G SIM cards over the past couple of weeks has been ballooning. Reliance has not launched Jio officially yet but is offering its 4G SIM cards in attractive pre-launch offers. This has now led to the early beginning of price wars which was expected to begin after the official launch. Bharti Airtel recently claimed (read further to know why we write “claim”! )to slash prices of its 3G and 4G data packs by as much as 80%.
According to the new plans, Airtel has begun offering its 1GB 3G/4G data packs at Rs.51 or Rs.99 depending on the period of recharge. Previously the same packs were available for Rs. 251 for a validity of about 1 month.
Now, this may seem like an aggressive move to counter Reliance Jio, on closer look, the reduction is not as much as 80% which company is claiming. The catch is that you need to pay an upfront fee of Rs.1498 or Rs. 748 after which you will get a 1GB data pack for a validity of one month.
Post that period, you can get those Airtel data packs at Rs. 51 or Rs. 99 for a period of 12 months or 6 months depending on initial fees (Rs. 1498 for 12 months at Rs.51 per data pack and Rs. 748 for 6 months at Rs.99 per data pack).
So, now if you calculate your net charges on a per month basis (which is usually the period of normal data pack recharge of an average user), it will come down in the range of Rs 170-180. And that amount is just 25-30% lower than its current data packs at Rs.250 per month.
Airtel could be targeting the premium or upper segment of its customers and prevent them from switching to Jio by offering them data packs through an upfront fee like that. In general, an average user won’t be willing to shell that much amount at once on data pack.
While there is a slight manipulation of numbers by Airtel to market its offerings, there is no denying the fact that it is a sign of impending price war among top telecom companies after Jio launch.
This is not the first instance of Airtel introducing attractive plans to safeguard its market share from Jio. It has been offering such plans for last few months. Recently, it also made voice calling free for its postpaid data customers. With the latest offering, the company seems to be targeting its premium segment of prepaid data users.
It is not just Airtel that has reduced the pricing of its data packs. The government owned BSNL also started offering unlimited 3G data at Rs.1099.
Notably, Jio has not revealed the pricing of its data plans yet but has claimed to reshape the Indian telecom market with low-priced offerings. The company is expected to have an official launch of Jio 4G on September 1 and we may then get a clear picture of what it has in store for customers.