made a grand entrance in the Indian telecom sector in September last year, and has completely changed the way the market operates. Jio’s free calls and data compelled market leaders , , , and to launch competing plans, a trend that was expected to continue at least till the Mukesh Ambani-owned brand started paid services. However, even after Jio service became paid in April this year, the rivals have continued doling out data-heavy prepaid packs and postpaid plans. In fact, the market sees a new plan being announced by the telcos. Here, we take a quick look at the best data and talk value offers launched by all the major telcos in the past quarter.
With its launch in September last year, Reliance Jio revealed the Jio Welcome Offer, with free data, calling, SMS, and app services to customers. While the operator claims calling will remain free on its VoLTE network, its promotional launch offer for free data, SMS, and app services was extended for another three-months from January with the Happy New Year offer. Reliance Jio , and alongside also the three month Jio Summer Surprise offer for customers who purchase the Jio Prime membership – at Rs. 99 – valid until March 2018.
The provides 1GB 4G data per day up to 90 days at Rs. 303 and 2GB 4G data per day up to three months at Rs. 499. Postpaid customers get 60GB of 4G data for the billing cycle, with the FUP set at 2GB per day. However, this offer did not last long – with its complimentary services – and was pulled by Reliance Jio within a few days. As its substitute, the company came up with a similar offer for Prime users that offers 1GB data per day up to three months for Rs. 309 and 2GB data per day up to three months at Rs. 509. There’s one major difference between the Summer Surprise and Dhan Dhana Dhan offers however – three additional months of complimentary services.
If you were amongst the first people to opt for and make subsequent recharge of Rs. 303 or higher value, you became eligible for the Summer Surprise offer, which gave you complimentary free data, SMS, and app services free for up to three months, after which the Rs. 303 (or higher) recharge value will become effective.
Customers who missed availing the Jio Summer Surprise offer and went for the Jio Dhan Dhana Dhan offer did not get any of the above described services free for the first three months. The value recharges for Rs. 309 and Rs. 509 covered the 1GB per day and 2GB per day up to three months respectively. Post three months, customers will have to make recharges afresh on their Jio numbers to continue services.
Apart from the aforementioned plans, Reliance Jio is yet to make any further announcement about its future telecom offers. However, the company has been known to extend its promotional offers, which has irked rival operators.
After the announcement of its commercial launch by Reliance Jio in March this year, Airtel came up with data-heavy plans to attract customers. In March, it firstly for prepaid users with 28GB of high-speed data for 28 days. While the daily FUP was set at 1GB per day, customers were able to use only 500MB of data during the day, while the remaining 500MB was allotted for the 12am to 6am period.
In April, to offer double the data to 2GB per day without any restrictions on the timing that was previously offered. For similar customers who did not want any time restriction on the data were offered a new Rs. 549 plan that provided 1GB high-speed data per day for 28 days without the time constraints.
Both the plans offered free local and STD calls as well but with some caveats. Airtel users who made calls beyond the 1,200 bundled minutes were charged at 30p per minute (for local and STD calls). Moreover, Airtel capped the free calls per day at 300 minutes, after which the charges were 30p per minute. Additionally, calling more than 100 unique users in a week entailed call tariff of 30p per minute for the rest of the validity.
While the Rs. 549 plan is still available for users to opt-in, the Rs. 345 plan has been revised to Rs. 349 per month and the daily data cap has been reduced to 1GB. The calling benefits are still the same as the original plans, and the day and night time restriction is no longer applicable in either.
Customers who wanted extra validity with same data benefits were offered two more plans by Airtel. offered 1GB data per day for a maximum of 70 days, only for 4G handset and SIM card users. The offer came with unlimited STD and local calls, but users could only get a maximum of 300 minutes of free Airtel to Airtel calls per day, and 1,200 minutes of free calls on the network for a week. After the bundled calls were exhausted, the calls were charged Rs. 0.10 per minute.
Another plan with the validity of 70 days was the Rs. 399 pack that offered 1GB data per day on 4G handsets and SIM cards. The primary difference between the Rs. 244 and Rs. 399 plans was that users could make unlimited calls on other networks as well in the latter but with an upper restriction of 3,000 minutes after which the calls were charged at Rs. 0.10 per minute. On-net calls made on Airtel network were capped similar to the Rs. 244 plan with the maximum of free 300 minutes per day and 1,200 minutes per week.
Talking about the Airtel plans available at the time of writing, the company is offering the Rs. 349 pack and Rs. 549 pack with the data benefits similar to what we mentioned above. However, there is a new Rs. 255 plan that comes with full talk value of Rs. 255 along with 2GB 3G/ 4G data for 28 days for prepaid users.
While the above offers were meant for the Airtel prepaid users, the postpaid users were not left behind by the company. Airtel for its postpaid users that gave them 30GB of free 4G data up to three months (10GB per month) from March 13. This postpaid data offer was and continues to be available under a new name – Airtel Monsoon Surprise offer. The data benefits are exactly the same and postpaid users can avail them via the MyAirtel app.
Soon after Reliance Jio and Airtel started the tariff war, Vodafone joined in. It that offered 1GB data per day for 56 days, or two recharge cycles of 28 days. Known as the Vodafone Super Offer pack, it additionally provided unlimited local and STD calls for the same validity period.
While the aforementioned pack was for prepaid users, Vodafone to its RED postpaid users in April this year. The company was offering either 3GB data per month for 12 months (totalling to 36GB) or 9GB data every month for duration of three months (totalling to 27GB).
In a bid to attract existing customers to its SuperNet 4G network, Vodafone in April that customers in Mumbai could avail 4GB of 4G data on 4G handsets on upgrading to a 4G SIM card on a 4G handset. It was a one-time offer available for existing Vodafone subscribers after they upgrade across Mumbai. While Vodafone prepaid customers could avail this one-time offer with 4G free data for a period of 10 days, postpaid customers were to receive same 4GB data benefit till the next billing date of their connection.
Vodafone soon started focusing on low validity recharge packs as rivals were busy with data and calling packs with more validity. In May this year, Vodafone that offered one day of validity with 100MB of 4G data and unlimited local and STD calls to Vodafone network only. While celebrating the SuperWeek, Vodafone also launched Rs. 49 and Rs. 89 recharge plans that offered seven days of validity with 250MB of 4G data and unlimited local and STD calls to just Vodafone customers and 250MB of 4G data with same validity, but calls on other networks for free 100 minutes, in addition to unlimited Vodafone local and STD calls, in a respective manner.
After a couple of data and calling plans, Vodafone with a new recharge plan to mark the occasion of Ramzan in June. However, it was only confined to the northern circles of Uttar Pradesh West and Uttarakhand. With Ramzan Special Pack, 2G and 3G customers could enjoy the unlimited data offer for Rs 5. and Rs. 19, respectively. 2G customers could get unlimited local and STD calls plus unlimited data for Rs. 253. Under the offer, customers also got unlimited local and STD calls plus 1GB data per day for Rs. 345.
Later, the company called the ‘Vodafone Ramzan 786 Plan’ with benefits varying with different telecom circles. For Assam and North-East circle, the pack offered unlimited voice calling, unlimited national roaming, and 25GB data at Rs. 786 for postpaid users. On the other hand, prepaid subscribers from Rajasthan were offered full talk time and ISD calling to UAE, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, and Saudi Arabia at just Rs. 0.14 per second also at Rs. 786 under the same plan rebranded as ‘Vodafone Holy Ramzan Pack’. In addition to this, Rajasthan users were also offered ‘Vodafone FRC 445’ with unlimited local and national calls, plus 1GB 4G/3G data daily, with a 70 days validity period. Alternately, ‘Vodafone FRC 295’ provided unlimited Vodafone to Vodafone calls along with 1GB 4G/3G data per day for 70 days.
In June, , meant only for data usage in the night between 1am to 6am, that offered unlimited Internet 3G/ 4G data to the users. The company claimed that it roughly translates to Rs. 6 per hour for unlimited Internet to its users for the mentioned timings.
Lastly, Vodafone to include a free Netflix membership for its postpaid users who have subscribed to Vodafone RED plans worth Rs. 1,299 or higher. Depending on the subscription, the validity of the free Netflix membership varies, giving the postpaid users up to one year of the subscription. Additionally, postpaid users get 30GB of free data under the RED 1299 unlimited plan.
Presently, the Vodafone recharge plans listed on the company’s website include the Rs. 149 plan and Rs. 349 plan. The Rs. 149 plan offers unlimited local and STD Vodafone calls along with 2GB data (for 4G handset & 4G SIM), 300MB data (only 4G handset), and 50MB data (non-4G handset) for 28 days. The Rs. 349 plan provides unlimited local and STD calls on all networks and landlines along with 50MB of 3G/4G data for 28 days. Customers with 4G handsets will get 1GB data additionally.
Idea Cellular also entered the data tariff war, and that provided 1GB data per day for 70 days on a 4G SIM and 4G smartphone. The offer came with 300 minutes of free calls per day and 1,200 minutes per week to other Idea customers, after which 30p per minute was charged. It then that gave 1GB data per day and unbilled calls to any network for 70 days. The bundled calls with this Idea pack to other networks were capped at 3,000 minutes for the 70-day period. Users were charged 30p per minute on exhausting bundled calls to other networks. The cap for un-billed Idea-to-Idea calls were the same as those of the Rs. 297 pack.
The telco was also users with 1GB of high-speed data with the Rs. 348 recharge pack, along with unlimited free calls; a total of 28GB data per month. Apart from this, the operator was providing 3GB of 3G/ 4G data for free with the new Idea Rs. 499 and Rs. 999 postpaid plans . Idea’s new Ultimate 999 postpaid plan, priced at Rs. 999, came with 8GB of bundled data per billing cycle for users with 4G phones, while those with 3G/2G handsets get 5GB data. Along with this, the operator also provided customers 1GB of free data as part of its ‘Acquisition Offer’. In addition, customers who upgraded to a new 4G handset in April on the Ultimate 999 plan (which comes with 5GB of complimentary data) received 1GB of data free every month until December 31, 2017, totalling 12GB of free data.
The postpaid customers of Idea were offered a new pack that gave them up to 10GB data per month, up to three months. Known as the ‘Data Jackpot’, users will get a minimum of 1GB per month for three months at Rs. 100 per month with a maximum of 10GB data. Another pack from Idea was the Rs. 300 pack that provided customers 1GB data per day per billing cycle (roughly Rs. 10 per GB) to those with 4G smartphones. The recharge pack was made available for customers with rental plans of Rs. 199 or higher, and the last date to buy the recharge pack was April 30, 2017; after that, Idea postpaid users could purchase the Rs. 300 pack every month for a year to get the data benefits.
Also in May, Idea Cellular on the occasion of the completion of its pan-India 4G network rollout with Mumbai, it to its existing and new customers for the first three months.
In June, Idea came up with a that offered 1GB 3G/4G (varies with circle) data per day. Additionally, the customers also received unlimited calls for the 70-day validity period, but only to other Idea numbers. Un-billed calls to other networks were capped at 3,000 minutes for the whole validity, with limits of 300 minutes a day, and 1,200 minutes a week.
Talking about the current availability of tariffs, Idea Cellular is giving 6GB 3G data at Rs. 96 for 28 days with no free call benefits. Apart from this, the Rs. 396 is still available for Idea prepaid customers while the Rs. 297 plan has been revised to Rs. 244 with similar data and calling benefits. There’s also a Rs. 197 recharge plan that will give you unlimited local and STD calls along with just 1GB of monthly data for 28 days.
State-owned telco BSNL is not aloof from the ongoing battle amongst the industry players either. It launched the in April that offered 3GB data per day for up to 90 days. However, since BSNL is yet to launch its 4G services, the data consumers would get will be 3G and 2G data, depending on the circle. with validity of 28 days was launched in March, which came with 25 minutes of free calls to other networks per day. Beyond the free 25 minutes, customers were to be charged at 25p per minute for long phone calls. The offer was limited for 90 days.
BSNL also came up with Rs. 395 BSNL ‘Nehle Pe Dehla’ plan that provided 2GB of data per day for 71 days, along with bundled local and STD calls. The bundled calls to BSNL numbers were capped at 3,000 minutes and calls to other networks were restricted to 1,800 minutes in the validity period, and there were charges after the exhausting. Another special tariff voucher, called , for Rs. 349 offered unlimited voice calls (local and STD) alongside additional 2GB for a month with a validity of 28 days
Then in June, the company , under which the prepaid subscribers could get 4GB data per day with a validity of 90 days. In a matter of days, , priced at Rs. 666. It came with 120GB data bundled with unlimited calls for the prepaid subscribers with a validity of 60 days.
In the same month along the lines of Vodafone’s Ramzan offer, BSNL for the occasion of Ramzan. Priced at Rs. 786 and Rs. 599, BSNL’s plans offered its prepaid subscribers 3GB of data for 90 days with full talk time of Rs. 786 and full balance of Rs. 507 for all purposes, plus Rs. 279 exclusively for voice calls respectively. However, the Rs. 786 pack provides the dedicated Rs. 786 balance only for calls, and cannot be used for sending SMSes, or consuming data if the bundled 3GB is exhausted.
This month, BSNL to its postpaid users and gave them additional data on the standard postpaid plans. BSNL customers who were enrolled under Plan 99 can get 250MB of data compared to zero data benefit previously. Similarly, those with Plan 225 will 1GB data compared to 200MB, and Plan 325 will offer 2GB of data compared to just 250MB data. Users enrolled under Plan 525 and 725 will now get 3GB (earlier 500MB) and 5GB data (earlier 1GB).
While the aforementioned telecom plans from the major five telecom operators are an aggregate of past three months, a bunch of new telecom offers with data heavy benefits can be expected from rival telcos to keep Reliance Jio at bay.