Reliance Jio subscribers who are disappointed with the steep rise in tariffs this month can look forward to some respite, at least for the next seven months.
Jio users can find all the plans that the company introduced in the last six months under a special tab called ‘tariff protection’ in the My Account page of their self-care web portal on www.jio.com (see image on top).
These old plans can also be recharged through third-party recharge providers such as retailers and online companies.
The option to recharge with the old plans is being offered under a TRAI law that requires all telecom operators to make any plan available for a minimum of six months.
Jio had, for example, introduced a raft of new plans in October, in which it had cut down on the number of calls that subscribers can make to other networks.
For example, under the Rs 222, 333 and 444 plans introduced on Oct 21, the company offered 2 GB per day of data for four weeks, eight weeks and 12 weeks respectively.
These plans also contained 1,000 minutes of calls to non-Jio networks.
However, these plans were replaced by a more expensive set of plans in the first week of December after all telecom operators got together to address the issue of sustainability and losses in the sector.
While the move to increase prices was easy to implement for other operators like Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea; for Jio, it was harder because it introduced several new plans in October. TRAI rules require it to keep offering any plan for a minimum of six months.
As a case in point, Rs 444 plan, which is 26% cheaper than the currrent 599 plan, was introduced on Oct 21. Therefore, the plan has to be available at least till April 20.
Moreover, given that the plan has a validity of three months, anyone who recharges with that plan can enjoy data at the older, cheaper rates till around the middle of July 2020.
For now, Jio is not showing these old plans to anyone who currently has an active plan, and is instead showing a message that the page is only for those who have no active plan. Also, users have to be ‘logged in’ to see the ‘tariff protection’ link.
All three operators — Jio, Airtel and Vodafone Idea — increased the prices of their packs and plans by around 25% in the first week of December after realizing that low prices were affecting the long-term sustainability of the telecom companies in India.
The condition of all telecom players in India is considered precarious due to the extreme competition seen in the market and the use of old, outdated technology that makes it more expensive to provide copious amounts of voice and data to customers.
Kumar Mangalam Birla, chairman of Vodafone Idea, recently said that his group will not invest any more money to save the telecom operator if the government does not take steps to address the stress caused by high levels of taxation on telecom services.
“It does not make sense to put good money after bad. That would be end of story for us. We will shut shop,” he said at an event earlier this month.