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Reliance Jio vs Bharti Airtel: 'Unlimited' 5G data new battleground

So far, Jio has taken its 5G services to an estimated 365 cities and Airtel to 270 cities. Vodafone is yet to start its 5G rollout

Topics
5G | Airtel | Telecom industry

Subhayan Chakraborty  |  New Delhi 



5g
Industry insiders say Airtel is eyeing a higher number of post-paid users in its continuous quest for better average revenue per user per month (ARPU)

The is stepping up its play with aggressive network rollout and strategic packages. Post-paid customers, forming a tiny fraction of the total telecom user base in the country, are a preferred target group in the mission. Although a small base, post-paid subscribers contribute significantly to a telco’s overall revenues.

Just three days after Reliance Jio introduced a new set of post-paid family plans called Jio Plus with ‘unlimited’ data, rival Bharti has followed the leader. On Friday, Bharti announced the launch of ‘unlimited’ data for subscribers availing its 5G plus services, currently live in over 270 cities.

The offer will be available to all post-paid customers and those pre-paid customers with a data plan of Rs 239 and above, said in a statement.

The move is expected to allow Airtel to align its 5G data offering with Reliance Jio, which is already offering unlimited 5G data as part of its ‘Jio 5G Welcome’ offer. This is available only on Jio prepaid or postpaid plans that cost Rs 239 or above. A few weeks ago, Jio had launched a ‘5G Upgrade’ data plan for Rs 61.

“The introductory offer is in line with the philosophy of wanting our customers to be able to surf, stream, chat and enjoy multiple benefits at blazing speeds without having to worry about data limits,” said Shashwat Sharma, Director of Consumer Business, Bharti Airtel.

Tariffs in focus

chart

Industry insiders say Airtel is eyeing a higher number of post-paid users in its continuous quest for better average revenue per user per month (ARPU).

Post-paid customers currently constitute about 6 per cent of the company's total subscriber base, while it is about 5 per cent for Reliance Jio, company officials said without being quoted. Market leader Jio recently made a push to attract a larger base of post-paid users through its new family plan.

From March 23, Jio's family plan will allow a family of four to try the services free of cost for a month. The additional three add-on connections will be available at Rs 99 per SIM, taking the total monthly charge for four post-paid connections to Rs 696 for a family of four.

Data of 75 GB per month will be available for the Rs 399 plan, while the Rs 699 family plan will have 100 GB data per month. The Rs 699 plan, coupled with the three additional SIM, will take the total to Rs 996 per month.

Earlier this week, Bharti Airtel had scrapped the minimum recharge plan of Rs 99 in the remaining of the 22 telecom circles, replacing it with an entry-level plan of Rs 155. The company has been the first mover in taking entry-level tariffs higher.

The Rs 99 segment accounted for 7-8 per cent of Airtel’s overall mobile revenue. The Rs 99 plan offered 200-megabyte data and calls at the rate of Rs 2.5 paise per second. This has now been replaced nationwide with an unlimited calling plan, a move that has been long planned, given that almost all user categories now expect unlimited calling.

5G spread

Airtel has said it is working towards offering nationwide coverage and that it is well poised to reach every town and key rural area with 5G services by the end of March 2024. Reliance Jio is looking at 100 million 5G customers by the end of FY24. It’s aiming to cover all cities and 6,000 tehsils by that time.

So far, Jio has taken its 5G services to an estimated 365 cities and Airtel to 270 cities. Vodafone is yet to start its 5G rollout.


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First Published: Fri, March 17 2023. 16:04 IST

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