Airtel, Idea, Vodafone in tug-of-war with Jio for customers with big bucks

Jio arrived in India as a disruptive player, bringing free calls, data, scrapping roaming charges

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Reliance Jio arrived in India as a disruptive player, bringing free voice calls, data, scrapping roaming charges, etc. Along with flaunting its cheap offers, Jio has been sinisterly targetting users of its rival operators. This, in turn, has compelled other telecom firms to focus on high-paying customers.

Telecom operators’ effort to battle with Jio

Recently, responding to Jio’s launch of Prime subscription, under which the firm aims to retain its 100 million user base after its free services end on 31 March, Bharti Airtel introduced a Rs 145 and Rs 349 plan. The cheaper plan offers 14 GB data per month with a 500MB cap per day and unlimited calls to Airtel numbers. The Rs 349 plan has unlimited calls to all networks. Vodafone India is now offering 15 GB of data for the first three months at the same price and 6 GB thereafter, according to Livemint. 
Reportedly, a person aware of Airtel’s plans said these plans are meant for customers who reach out to them proactively to move out of the network.
However aggressive the pricing war may be, it is the necessity of the hour, essentially as the telecom industry has lost about 20% of revenue due to Reliance Jio’s free services.
During Bharti Airtel’s earnings call with investors for the quarter ended 31 December, chief executive officer Gopal Vittal said the challenge for the firm, which has a stratified average revenue per user (Arpu) table across the market with different customers at different levels of Arpu, is that there could be some users who will move to a cheaper plan.
“But that is, unfortunately, the competitive dynamic that we are living in today, and that is something that we believe makes a lot of sense for us because that will drive more high-Arpu customers into our network,” Vittal had said.
“In the context of playing an Arpu game, we believe that bundled packs make a lot of sense to lock in Arpu, deliver value,” he added.
is, in fact, is urging its sales partners to push these plans to customers and its channel partners are being given special commissions on these plans—double the 2.5-3% that they get on other plans. | READ MORE | 
 
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