Reliance Jio, the newest telecom operator in India, today announced new tariff plans to replace its current dirt-cheap rates, offering lesser validity and data on a revamped Rs 309 plan and dishing out a bumper 84GB for Rs 399. The new plans were announced as Jio’s Dhan Dhana Dhan offer — launched on April 11 — reached the maximum allowed 90-day period on July 9. The previous offer of 1 GB data per day for Rs 309 (valid for 84 days on first recharge) has now been replaced by an offer of 1GB data daily for only 56 days for the same amount of money. Jio had over 112 million users at the end of April 2017. A company official explained that after the expiry of first recharge offer period, customers would have got a validity of 28 days on the Rs 309 plan. Now, with the revamped plan, they will get two months validity for Rs 309, he added. Similarly, 2 GB per day will now be offered for 56 days for Rs 509, instead of 84 days under the earlier offer.
The new plans will be available from today and will be applicable for all new as well as existing subscribers, Jio said in a press statement. “Over and above the Prime exclusive plans, Jio is introducing new ‘Every Day More Value’ plans. These plans provide 20 per cent more value than competitors’ best plans,” Jio statement added. Apart from data benefits, customers will continue to get unlimited free local, STD and national roaming voice calls as well as unlimited national SMS. The Mukesh Ambani-owned firm has also unveiled new plans – the most lucrative one being 84GB offer for 84 days for Rs 399. A Rs 349 plan offers 20 GB of data with no daily cap and a validity of 56 days. For Rs 999, 90 GB of data is being offered with 90 days of validity and no daily cap.
For post-paid customers, Jio launched a Rs 399 plan that offers about three months validity with 90 GB data. Earlier in March, Jio had introduced Prime membership programme that had helped the operator onboard millions of new users. Bank of America Merill Lynch, in its latest report, termed Jio’s new tariff plans as “directionally positive” for the telecom sector as the operator “is reducing its discounts and raising implied tariffs”. “The move is largely on expected lines… It provides some breather (not relief) to the industry that has been reeling under the Jio promotion onslaught,” said Kotak Securities in a separate report. It added that the move should “provide the industry an opportunity to stem the free fall in ARPU (Average Revenue per user) levels seen in the past three quarters”. However, industry players still feel that these changes will be of little help to the sector that is reeling under a debt of Rs 4.6 lakh crore.
A senior industry executive, who did not wish to be named said rivals would still be under pressure as Jio continues to offer free calls and SMS that hurt revenues. Moreover, these freebies also push asymmetric traffic from Jio onto the network of other established players, they claimed. An official with another large operator, on the condition of anonymity, said the tariffs continue to be below cost and alleged that the increase in effective pricing is a mere tokenism.