The offer is being rolled out only to prepaid users, and can be seen only in the ‘only for you’ deals section of Airtel’s recharge app or website. As it is a targeted offer, it may not be available to new customers.
The regular price of the 6 GB pack is in the range of Rs 800 per month, and the offer represents a discount of nearly 80%.
The move is a response to the Happy New Year offer by Reliance Jio, which gives 1 GB of 4G data free per day.
All major operators, including Bharti Airtel, Idea Cellular and Vodafone, are expected to be feeling major pain due to the ongoing free service from Jio.
According Jio, the total data traffic carried by the company is four times that of the combined data traffic of its rivals.
PENT UP DEMAND
India has strong demand for data services. However, the incumbent telecom operators — Bharti Airtel, Vodafone and Idea Cellular — kept data charges at relatively high levels, keeping consumption down.
While an average customer on these networks consumed only 25 to 30 MB per day, on Jio, they consume 700-1000 MB per day.
The average income of a household in India is around Rs 12,000-15,000 per month, and the average expenditure on telecommunications is around Rs 500 per month.
However, given the incumbent’s pricing of Rs 230 per GB, average consumption would have to be around 1-1.5 GB per month per household.
However, with the entry of Reliance Jio, data prices have crashed to around Rs 50 per GB, and an average family is likely to be able to consume around 7-8 GB per month going forward.
Airtel’s current offer of Rs 147 for 6 GB is not a long-term plan, but a stop-gap measure to ensure that total data consumption on the network does not decline compared to previous quarters. From March onwards, the new price of data will be around Rs 50 per GB.