Photo: Pradeep Gaur/Mint
Photo: Pradeep Gaur/Mint

Airtel takes on Reliance Jio, to offer 3 months of unlimited data for Rs1,494

Airtel's new 4G plan is by far their most lucrative and is clearly an attempt to counter the predatory pricing and free offering of Reliance Jio

New Delhi: Telecom operator Bharti Airtel has announced a special 4G data plan that provides 30GB of data at 4G LTE speeds for a duration of 90 days from the day of recharge. Existing prepaid users can access this plan by paying up Rs1,495, while first-time Airtel subscribers will have to pay Rs1,494 for their first recharge before they may avail its benefits. If the subscribers use up the entire 30GB of 4G data within 90days, they will be automatically shifted to the slower 2G networks, but the data usage will remain unlimited.

Airtel’s new move is lucrative, but faces stiff competition from Reliance Jio which is offering all 4G services for free as a preview offering to users until 31 December.

Reliance Jio users will be charged for 4G data from next year onwards. Their basic 4G plan starts at Rs149 (300MB 4G data) and goes up to Rs4,999 (75GB 4G data). Reliance Jio doesn’t have a 30GB plan, but their 35GB 4G plan which is valid for 28 days for prepaid users will cost Rs2,499.

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Airtel’s existing My Plan Infinity pack for Airtel users, announced last month, starts at Rs949 and offers 1GB of 4G data along with unlimited access to movie and music streaming on 4G and free local calls. The 20GB 4G plan under this costs Rs2,499.

This means when Reliance Jio begins to charge its subscribers, Airtel’s new plan will be offering more 4G data to users at a lesser price.

However, for the extra money, the additional benefits available to Reliance Jio users in this case is the free local and STD voice calls and free subscription to all Reliance Jio apps, might be interesting for some users.

Airtel’s new plan can be immensely popular among existing Airtel users who have a lot of video calls to make or stream a lot of music and movies on their mobile devices. User can also use it to create a Hotspot so that multiple users can access it. The plan is currently available to users in Delhi circle and will be rolled out in other circles where Airtel has 4G licenses in the next few days.

“At Airtel, we are focused on providing great value to customers. Customers with 4G handsets generally consume large amounts of data and this proposition is aimed at them," Ajai Puri, director (operations) at Airtel for India and South Asia.

“With this pack, these customers can stay online round the clock without having to worry about exhausting their data limits or going for frequent recharges," added Puri.

The telecom sector has seen a number of tariff cuts and data benefit offers being introduced by incumbents in the last four months to protect subscriber base from Reliance Jio’s attractive tariff plans.