Reliance Jio to Offer World's 'Lowest' Data Tariffs Starting at Rs 19
Mukesh Ambani, Chairman, Reliance Industries Ltd. with his son Akash Ambani at the company's annual general meeting in Mumbai. (PTI)
Mumbai: Reliance Jio customers will get free voice calling (including STD) and roaming services, bundled with data access for Rs 19 onwards, making the offering one of the "lowest" globally.
The company has introduced 10 tariff plans from one-day plan at Rs 19 for occasional users going all the way up to Rs 4,999 a month for heavy data users.
The pricing, which analysts are terming as a "knockout punch" are estimated to be as low as one-tenth of the prevailing data rates depending on the customer's data usage.
These tariff plans would come into effect after December 31, 2016. Till then, all customers would get free access to unlimited voice calls (local and STD), SMSes and data.
Jio users would also not face any blackout days like Diwali and New Year, when operators tend to charge double.
According to Bernstein Research, both Bharti Airtel and Vodafone have launched similar plans offering unlimited voice calling.
"However, Bharti's unlimited voice plan is currently positioned at a higher price point and offer comparably less data... Vodafone also offers a few unlimited voice calling plans but SMS is usually capped, the data cap is smaller and there are no free apps available," it said.
The report said Bharti Airtel's unlimited voice plans are available from Rs 949 to Rs 2,999 and it expects that the company would "revise the tariffs over the coming weeks".
While analysts believe Reliance Jio's entry will bring in a new round of price war, rival Bharti Airtel welcomed Jio's entry in the Indian market.
"As a responsible operator, we will fulfill all our regulatory obligations as we have always done," it added.
Vodafone spokesperson said the company has always offered value to customers backed by nationwide presence and a strong network and will continue to do so for hundreds of millions customers across the country.
Reliance Jio is ushering in "data-giri" to cash in on the booming demand for data services boom in the country. Even though 70 per cent of the Indian telecom industry's revenues are still derived from voice services, data revenues are growing at a strong pace for all operators.
Data demand is being driven by factors like high consumption of videos, online transactions, games and use of popular instant messengers like WhatsApp and Hike.
Reliance is also offering a Jio apps bouquet worth Rs 15,000, will be available complimentary for all active Jio customers up to December 31, 2017.
Under the Rs 19 prepaid plan, users will get 100 MB data and 100 SMSes for a day, apart from unlimited free voice calling.
The 149 plan, available for both prepaid and postpaid users, will offer 300MB data and 100 SMSes with a validity of about a month.
Under the Rs 4,999 plan, users will get 75GB of 4G data as well as unlimited 4G access at night for a period of 28 days or one month for prepaid and postpaid users, respectively.
Other plans would be available for Rs 129 (prepaid only), Rs 299 (prepaid only), Rs 499, Rs 999, Rs 1,499, Rs 2,499, and Rs 3,999.
Under these plans (except Rs 149 plan), subscribers will also have wifi access (with varied amounts of usage) from JioNet Hotspots.
Speaking at the Reliance Industries' 42th Annual General Meeting, Chairman Mukesh Ambani said data must be "affordable" and that Reliance Jio's effective rates will be Rs 50 per GB.
"If you use more data, it will go down to Rs 25 per GB," he added.
Compared globally, Reliance Jio's tariffs are among the lowest. According to Ambani's presentation, data rates per GB are around USD 30 in Japan, USD 18 in Korea, USD 15 in China, USD 7.5 in Spain and USD 6 in South Africa.
In India, it is currently at about USD 3.5 which Jio now proposes to bring down further to less than USD 1 (about Rs 67).
Ambani, India's richest man, however stopped short of calling January 1 as the commercial launch of Jio that will offer only fourth-generation or 4G services in the world's second-largest smartphone market.
(Disclosure: News18.com is part of Network18 Media & Investment Limited which is owned by Reliance Industries Limited that also owns Reliance Jio)
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