Bharti Airtel has announced new prepaid recharge options for its users in India, in line with the confirmation earlier that the company would be increasing tariffs in December. The new Airtel recharge packs are replacing similarly priced recharge options that were available till now. This comes after Vodafone Idea Limited (VIL) has announced the new prepaid tariff plans which become applicable from December 3, and there are significant changes for prepaid mobile users to wrap their calculations around. Reliance Jio have confirmed that they will be announcing all new all-in-one mobile tariff plans that will be effective from December 6, with unlimited voice calls and bundled data as well as additional benefits for users.
Airtel’s new recharge options are priced upwards of Rs 19 and go all the way up to Rs 2398, depending on the validity period and the benefits that you are looking for.
The unlimited usage packs are priced upwards of Rs 148 now—it was Rs 129 earlier. This neatly takes us to the matter of the new Rs 148 pack, which has a validity of 28 days and bundles unlimited calling, 2GB data for the total validity period and 300 SMS. This replaces the Rs 129 pack which offered the same benefits, but did not have the Airtel Xstream, Wynk Music and Hello Tunes benefits which are now available.
Next up is the Rs 248 recharge option. This has a 28-day validity period with unlimited calling, 1.5GB data per day and 100 SMS per day. Airtel is bundling the Airtel Thanks benefits of Airtel Xstream Premium streaming service, subscription for Wynk Music, free Hello Tunes and anti-virus mobile protection suite subscription. This new Rs 248 recharge is replacing two recharge packs in effect—the Rs 169 pack (1GB data per day) and the Rs 199 pack (1.5GB data per day).
Airtel says the Xstream Premium subscription gives users access to more than 10,000 movies as well as the ability to stream Live TV and news. In fact, the Airtel Thanks benefits that also include subscription for Wynk Music, free Hello Tunes and anti-virus mobile protection suite subscription are available for all unlimited calling packages priced upwards of Rs 248.
The new Rs 298 recharge pack replaces the older Rs 249 recharge option, while retaining the same configuration of unlimited voice calls, 2GB data per day and 100 SMS per day, with the 28-day validity.
Airtel has added the new Rs 598 plan which replaces the Rs 448 plan. The new plan also offers unlimited calling, 1.5GB data per day and 100 SMS per day, with the validity now at 84-days instead of 82-days earlier.
The other 82-day validity pack that has been upgraded to 84-day validity is the older Rs 499 plan which now costs Rs 698 instead. This includes 2GB data per day, unlimited calls and 100 SMS per day.
There are two annual recharge options that are also available as part of the new Airtel prepaid recharge options.
The Rs 1496 plan is a reconfigured Rs 998 plan, which now has a 365-days validity instead of 336-days earlier. The new data limit of 24GB is also double the 12GB limit earlier and the unlimited calling as well as 3600 SMS specs remain the same.
The higher spec Rs 2398 plan was the one that was earlier priced at Rs 1,699 and retains the same bundle of 1.5GB data per day, unlimited calls and 100 SMS per day.
There are smaller denomination recharge options too. The existing Rs 19 recharge option retains the same price, the validity period of 2 days and includes unlimited calls, 150MB data and 100 SMS. The erstwhile Rs 35 pack will now cost Rs 49 and this will now have 28 days validity—Rs 38.82 will be credited as talk-time as compared with Rs 26.66 earlier along with 100MB data. Airtel says this is a 50 paisa per day increase in price. The price of the Rs 65 pack has been increased to Rs 79 though the 28-day validity remains the same. Incidentally, lesser talk-time of Rs 63.95 is being credited to the Airtel prepaid user’s account, compared with Rs 130 earlier.
Airtel is packaging the new tariffs as a miniscule increase in the daily expenditure for customers, depending on the validity of the recharge pack they choose and also pushing the Airtel Thanks benefits that are now bundled with most, if not all, of these recharge packs. “Airtel’s new plans, represent tariff increases in the range of a mere 50 paise/day to Rs. 2.85/day and offer generous data and calling benefits. In addition, Airtel provides exclusive benefits as part of the Airtel Thanks platform, which enables access to premium content from Airtel Xstream (10,000 movies, exclusive shows, and 400 TV channels), Wynk Music, device protection, anti-virus protection and much more,” says the company in an official statement. For all the Airtel prepaid packs that are being launched now, the FUP for off-net calls will be applicable. There will be an FUP of 1000 minutes of free off-net usage bundled with all 28 day packs, while there will be 3000 minutes FUP with all 84 day packs. The long term packs that have a 365-days validity get 12000 minutes of FUP for calls made outside the Airtel network.
In the new tariff plans for prepaid users, Vodafone Idea will now charge for calls made outside the Vodafone Idea network, to the tune of Rs 0.06 per minute, once the bundled calls with your recharge packs are exhausted. This is known as the Interconnect Usage Charge (IUC), and this is a big shift from the company’s original stance that all calls will remain free for its users which they had made clear in October when Reliance Jio announced that it will charge for calls made outside the Jio network, once the bundled free call minutes are exhausted.