Idea Cellular has copied the post-pay plans of Bharti Airtel to announce a new flexible billing scheme for its customers.
India, where over 95% of mobile subscribers are on prepaid schemes, has not found many takers for billing schemes, largely on account of a mutual distrust on the part of customers and operators about the reliability of each others’ promises.
As such, most users are on prepaid schemes, which do not give any guarantee of revenue to the operators, but offer excellent freedom for customers. Prepaid plans are typically ‘life time incoming free’, while in billing schemes, a user has to pay at least Rs 150-200 per month regardless of whether or not he or she makes any calls or not.
Airtel was the first to try to make post paid or billing schemes more friendly, and cheaper, for customers.
Post paid users pay around 30-40% more than what prepaid users do, regardless of the operator.
Under the new schemes, however, higher volume users can get STD or long distance call rates as low as 24.4 paise per minute if they commit to a minimum bill of Rs 1000 per month. Similarly, local call rates can fall as low as 22 paise per minute.
In comparison, most billing customers now pay about 50 paise per minute for both. Prepaid call rates are about 35 paise per minute after paying a monthly rental of about Rs 35-50 per month.
While Airtel calls the new flexible, or modular, scheme ‘My Plan’, Idea has decided to call it ‘i Plan’.
As is usual, Vodafone India may also follow suit with its own ‘V plan’ soon.
Under Idea and Airtel’s plans, a customer can get 4 modules free per month for about Rs 221 per month (including taxes), or about 55 per module. The price per module falls to Rs 22 for those committing for a Rs 1000-per-month bill.
Each module can be exchanged for 100 local calls or 90 long distance calls or 135 MB of 3G data.
However, customers will lose the flexibility associated with prepaid, which allows them to use a little or a lot of whatever they want, without worrying about overpaying.
Rental in Rs.
No. of Free Packs
Free i-Plan Packs
6 US / Can/ UK-F Mins
40 mins Outgoing
150 Local/ National SMS