Vodafone, India’s second largest telecom operator by revenue, has more or less matched newcomer Reliance Jio’s aggressive tariff plan by offering 1 GB per day for one month at Rs 346, in addiition to unlimited voice calling.
The plan is almost exactly similar to what Reliance Jio last week, though the pricing — at Rs 346 versus Rs 303 — is slightly higher.
UPDATE: In reponse to this news, Vodafone said: “This is one.. segmented offering and the offer is valid only till 15 March.”
On the other hand, unlike Jio’s offer, Vodafone does not require users to recharge their phone with any special one-time voucher such as that of Rs 99.
Moreover, in this case, the first Rs 346 recharge will be valid for 56 days. In other words, the first Rs 346 recharge will give you 1 GB per day and unlimited voice calls for 56 days. Subsequent recharges will last only 28 days. The offer is currently available in select circles such as Mumbai.
The move represents the first response from any of the existing operators to Jio’s aggressive new tariffs under its Prime membership plan.
Though Vodafone does not have as much spectrum as Jio, the move is likely to help the company prevent a huge erosion of its subscriber base in places like Mumbai.
That said, spectrum scarcity could work with the new offer to significantly reduce the quality of data experience on Vodafone’s network.
The company has 4G spectrum in around 17 out of India’s 22 telecom zones, and has operational 4G networks in around a dozen of these.
However, in most of these circles, it uses only 5 MHz of spectrum for downloads and 5 Mhz spectrum for uploads, while Jio uses about 20 MHz of spectrum for downloads and 10 MHz for uploads.
In other words, the new operator enjoys a significantly higher capacity to carry data as far as 4G is concerned. However, in 3G technology, Vodafone enjoys the clear upper hand as the new operator does not operate 3G networks in any areas in India.
And unlike previous offers, Vodafone’s latest plan is valid for 3G-only subscribers as well.
Separately, Vodafone and Idea Cellular are holding talks to combine their wireless business in India. Doing so would put the combined entity at par with the new operator as far as 4G spectrum is concerned, while giving it a clear edge in other technologies such as 3G.