Idea Cellular and Bharti Airtel are offering 1 GB of 3G or 4G data per day for 84 days at a price of around Rs 400 in select circles, including voice benefits, matching Jio’s lowest tariff.
The offer is available only for targeted users.
For example, for someone who has already activated a similar pack in the past, the same plan may give a lower validity (see the photo at the bottom), while those who are not yet big users of data get the full 84-day offer (see below).
The brings parity between what the incumbent gives and what Reliance Jio provides under its Dhan Dhana Dhan scheme, which has shaken up the telecom industry with its super low tariffs.
It should be noted that the plans are not long term, and may not be available for six months — the minimum period for which a plan has to be in effect.
Besides Airtel and Idea, Vodafone too has been offering cheaper plans, including a Rs 250 plan in which the user gets 1 GB per day for 70 days along with free on-net calls.
With the arrival of Reliance Jio, operators like Idea and Airtel have been forced to cut their prices. As a result, the average price of wireless data in India has fallen by a whopping 97% in one year to less than Rs 6 per GB from Rs 200 per GB.
Idea has been tweaking its offers quite drastically, changing them every few days to gauge consumer response.
The company is working on a plan to increase the average data consumed on its network from about 2.2 GB per user per month to about 15 GB by next year.
The Aditya Birla Group company is also currently engaged in the process of merging itself with No.2 operator by revenue, Vodafone, to take its place at the top of the Indian telecom market.
The combined company is expected to have the heft to compete in a low price, high efficiency environment.
Companies like Idea Cellular and Bharti Airtel used to tailor their business on a ’boutique’ model seen in developed countries. In this model, subscribers consumed cellular data sparingly as a complement to their wired connection at home, and not as a primary mode of Internet access.
However, the model was upturned when Indian billionaire Mukesh Ambani sensed an opportunity to make wireless data a ‘volume game’, after realizing that normal methods of delivering high-speed Internet were more or less absent in the country.
Due to the headstart provided by this realization, Ambani’s company is considered to be a couple of years ahead of the others in terms of its readiness to offer ubiquitous high-speed wireless Internet across the country.