The country’s second largest operator, Vodafone India, on Tuesday launched a flexible tariff plan for its pre-paid subscribers, allowing them to use voice or data through a single recharge, moving from separate coupons for availing voice, SMS, national roaming and data services.
As per the new tariff plan, pre-paid consumers can now choose a recharge coupon ranging from Rs 119 to Rs 399, with varying flexi-points of 325 to 1750. Subscribers can then use for local and STD voice calls, SMS, roaming and internet browsing, without having to recharge for each of the services. The validity of the pack is set at 28-days, and unutilised balance could be carried forward.
In simpler terms, flexi-points are virtual currency which is maintained as the account balance of a subscriber, and gets deducted for the services a consumer uses. For instance, for one flexi-point a subscriber can either use 1MB of data, or 1 SMS or receive one minute of incoming call while on roaming, wherein a user will be charged two points for a one minute local or STD call.
The working of the scheme seems complex and analysts said that it will be difficult for the retailers to explain to the consumers of the accruing benefits. On the face of it, the scheme does not seem to be cheaper for subscribers.
The new tariff plan “gives pre-paid customers total control with the flexibility to use their Flex (Tariff plan) as per their individual choice and usage style – more for voice or more for data – offering greater value for money,” Sandeep Kataria, director- commercial at Vodafone India said.
Kataria acknowledged that the new tariff is aimed at pre-paid users who constitute more than 90% of its 200 million subscribers. Reducing tariffs or offering freebees “are not going to be a long-term differentiator,” he said, and added that the new tariff plan is to bring in simplicity for subscribers.