Mukesh Ambani, chairman of Reliance Jio, confirmed what many feared — the end of free 4G data will get over on March 31, but also announced a new program called ‘Jio Prime’, under which subscribers can get 1 GB per day at Rs 303 per month.
They also have to pay a one-time cost of Rs 99 to be eligible for the offer.
Besides getting 1 GB per day, people who recharge with Rs 303 every month will also get unlimited data usage between 2 AM and 5 AM, as well as free voice usage 24 hours of the day. They can continue to enjoy this scheme by recharging with Rs 303, but only for one year. After a year, the scheme will be replaced or withdrawn.
There will also be offers other than the above for those who take the Prime membership by paying the Rs 99.
For example, such subscribers will also continue to get free access to Jio apps for another one year, up to 21 Dec, 2018, Ambani added.
Customers will be able to join the Prime program and avail of these benefits by recharging with Rs 99 on the MyJio app or via the company’s website or retail outlets.
Ambani also said Jio will provide 20% more data than the highest-selling tariffs of all operators.
“You no longer have to worry about whether you are getting the best value,” Mukesh Ambani said.
“You can also count on us to deliver many more suprrises in the coming days,” he added.
He confirmed that voice will continue to be free and no charges will be levied for anything, including roaming services.
Ambani had revealed a set of tariff plans in September last year, which were at the time the cheapest in the country.
However, since then, rivals like BSNL, Bharti Airtel and Idea Cellular have either matched those tariffs, especially for data, or unveiled even cheaper plans.
Jio, which started signing up customers in September, had crossed the 72 mln mark in December and has been adding about 20 mln per month. At the rate, therefore, the 100 mln subscriber mark would have been hit by around the middle of this month.
There were also various media reports that the RIL chairman did indeed make such an announcement at the recently held Nasscom Leadership Forum in Mumbai.
However, the news reports were followed by a clarification that the billionaire made no such announcement.
The milestone has come as a surprise to many people, including those in the industry, as very few people expected that any operator would be able to cross 100 mln 4G subscribers in 2017, let alone at the beginning of the year.
For comparison, Idea Cellular, the third biggest 4G service provider in India, has only around 20 mln 4G devices on its network and many of these subscribers have not activated 4G packs.
Similarly, three months ago, Bharti Airtel CEO Gopal Vittal predicted that the new operator would be able to sign on about 40 mln users by the end of December, but additions would start “dropping off” after that.
You can watch the live broadcast of Mukesh Ambani’s speech below.