After Reliance Jio extends free services period, Bharti Airtel offers unlimited free calling pack; Idea Cellular follows

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New Delhi | Updated: December 9, 2016 3:35:42 PM

With Reliance Jio extending its free calling services beyond December 31 to March 31, 2017, the country’s largest telecom operator Bharti Airtel turned aggressive and for the first time announced an unlimited free calling pack across its network in the...

In both packs, for customers who have feature phones and not 4G-enabled smartphones, free calling will be available but data provided will be only 50 MB.In both packs, for customers who have feature phones and not 4G-enabled smartphones, free calling will be available but data provided will be only 50 MB.

With Reliance Jio extending its free calling services beyond December 31 to March 31, 2017, the country’s largest telecom operator Bharti Airtel turned aggressive and for the first time announced an unlimited free calling pack across its network in the prepaid segment with 1 GB data valid for 28 days for R345, reports fe Bureau in New Delhi. The development is significant because so far Bharti offered free calling services only in the postpaid segment for a minimum monthly charge of R1,199 bundled with 1 GB data. The country’s third largest operator, Idea Cellular also later in the evening announced a matching offer with denominations of R148 and R348 with other benefits similar to Bharti’s.

Since 95% of Bharti’s customer base comprises prepaid users, targeting this segment with Jio extending its free services offer thus becomes necessary. This is why the other bundled pack rolled out by Bharti on Thursday is a R145 pack which will offer 300 MB data but free calls will be limited to Airtel-to-Airtel network.

In both packs, for customers who have feature phones and not 4G-enabled smartphones, free calling will be available but data provided will be only 50 MB.

While the move seems to be aimed at countering any challenge from Jio, the packs when compared to it seems somewhat less attractive. For instance, Jio’s R149 pack offers 300 MB data and R299 2 GB, but all calls are free for life. These are the tariff packs filed by Jio while everything is free till March 31. Voice calls free for life is something that Bharti says it cannot do because 75% of its customers are not data users so charging them will become a problem.

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