Bharti Airtel, India’s largest telecom company, has started giving ‘more than full’ talktime on easy recharges that can be done from any vendor.
The lowest such denomination of Rs 200, which will now give Rs 220 in terms of talk time, according to dealers.
Earlier, a recharge of Rs 200 would have given a talktime of only about Rs 170.
With the move, for someone recharging Rs 200, they get an incremental 30% talk time.
Similarly, someone recharging with Rs 1000 would have got only Rs 1000 in talk time. Now, under the new scheme, you get Rs 1,100.
Similarly, for a Rs 50 recharge, you get Rs 50 talk time now, compared to Rs 40 earlier.
The benefit of these increased talk-times can also be taken by non-voice users if they are able to activate data packs by paying for them in talk time. For example, a data pack that will cost Rs 200 using a debit or credit card purchase can now be availed of at Rs 180 by paying for it using the more-than-full talk-time. However, not all plans can be purchased via talk-time.
These ‘more-than-full’ talk time plans were initially rolled out as app exclusives, but the company seems to have decided to make these available to all users.
The moves are a response to the heavy competition unleashed by Mukesh Ambani-led Reliance Jio.
Jio has made voice ‘free’ on all its prepaid plans.
Airtel is also offering ‘free’ calls on plans starting at Rs 345 per month. At that price, the operator gives 1 GB of data and unlimited voice calls withing the country.
Separately, Airtel has also slashed the price of data.
It now offers 6 GB of 4G data at Rs 147 per month, which translates to a price of Rs 25 per GB — almost unheard of in India. Airtel used to charge Rs 250 for 1 GB before Jio’s entry.
The market leader has been more aggressive compared to competitors like Idea Cellular and Vodafone in responding to the challenge posed by Reliance Jio.