Vodafone-Idea is looking to mitigate its steady landslide in user base and financial figures with new revenue lines that help the operator increase its average revenue per user. The latest of its strategies is a new plan under the Vodafone Red postpaid lineup, dubbed Vodafone RedX. With this plan, India's third largest operator is looking to lure in customers by offering a comprehensive bundle of data, calling, messaging, content and additional benefits. Priced at Rs 999 (exclusive of GST), the Vodafone RedX plan does offer an interesting suite of features, but also comes with a host of fine prints that may induce one too many padlocks. On this note, we decided to compare Vodafone's latest RedX postpaid plan with Airtel's MyPlan Infinity 999, to see which of the two postpaid plans in India can offer you the best value for money, and involve fewer conditional roadblocks.
The Vodafone RedX postpaid plan costs Rs 999 (plus GST). For this, you get unlimited local, STD and national roaming calls from anywhere in India, to any network. Additionally, you also get privilege tariff for certain international calls. These include calls to USA and Canada at 50p per minute, China and Hong Kong at Rs 2 per minute, Bangladesh and UK at Rs 3 per minute, and Australia, Bhutan, Germany, Kuwait, Malaysia, Pakistan, Singapore and Thailand at Rs 5 per minute. For all other countries, standard international calling rates will apply.
For SMS messages, subscribers will get 100 free SMS messages per cycle, post which every message will cost 25p. The SMS feature is capped at 3,000 messages per month (100 per day) at the special rate, beyond which the standard rate of Re 1 per local message and country-dependent international messaging charges will apply.
In terms of data, while Vodafone mentions unlimited data per month, only 150GB of the allocated data (5GB per day) is valid at peak speed. Beyond the usage cap, data speeds are restricted to 1Mbps bandwidth only. Vodafone also claims "premier network experience", wherein it states that subscribers of the Vodafone RedX plan will be offered "up to 50 percent higher data speed as compared to other postpaid plans". This likely alludes to higher bandwidth allotment in comparison to standard 4G plans, although Vodafone does not mention any specific network speed here.
In terms of the content, subscribers will be credited with Rs 5,988 in their respective Netflix account, once acessed via the My Vodafone app. The amount accounts for one year of Netflix's 'Basic' plan, which offers streaming in standard definition (SD) only, for one screen at a time. Users will have the option to upgrade their Netflix plan, but will get a shorter subscription duration as a result. For instance, upgrading to the 'Standard' plan (HD streaming, two devices simultaneously) will give users nine months of Netflix access, while 'Premium' (4K streaming, four devices simultaneously) will give seven months of Netflix access. Other services include one year of Amazon Prime subscription, but this will not be valid if you have already availed the same under any other Vodafone prepaid or postpaid plan. Users will also get one year of Zee5 and one year of live TV and premium movies with Vodafone Play, at no additional cost.
Other benefits of the plan include special discounts on two Samsung smartphones every six months from a range of eligible devices when accessed through My Vodafone, complimentary international roaming pack worth Rs 2,999 (once per year), four airport lounge access passes (one international, once per quarter, access through My Vodafone only), and special offers on Tiquets and Hotels.com.
Airtel MyPlan Infinity
The Airtel MyPlan postpaid subscription costs Rs 999 (plus GST), and in terms of calling, offers unlimited local, STD and national roaming calls from anywhere in India, to any network. While there are no international calling privileges bundled here, you do get a free add-on connection bundled with this plan, which also gets unlimited free calling across India.
SMS message services will offer 100 free SMS messages per cycle, beyond which standard rates (Re 1 for national, country-specific for international) will apply. For data, the Rs 999 plan offers 150GB of high speed data, with data rollover of maximum 500GB. Beyond the 500GB data limit, speeds will be severely throttled to 80kbps.
Content and special benefits include three months of Netflix access (Rs 1,500 credited to account, upgrading plan to reduce duration), one year Amazon Prime (existing subscribers who have already availed it are not eligible), and access to Zee5's premium shows and movies. Airtel users also get access to the Airtel Xstream app, as well as a handset protection plan.
While Airtel's plan offers fewer benefits in comparison to Vodafone RedX (shorter duration of Netflix access, no lounge access, no deals on travel, entertainment or device purchases), it also does not come with a time-bound catch. With RedX, subscribing Vodafone customers will be charged a minumum of Rs 3,000, if they choose to leave the plan within six months of subscribing to it. As Vodafone says in its TnC documentation, "If the subscriber seeks to exit from the plan either through plan change (postpaid/ prepaid) or through disconnection, within 6 months (contract period) of enrolment to the REDX plan, the subscriber shall be liable towards the benefits/services offered with this plan at no extra cost, irrespective of consumption of these benefits/services e.g Netflix, Amazon Prime, IR pack, Airport Lounge etc, and accordingly, the subscriber shall be charged a minimum amount of INR 3,000/- (incl. taxes) in lieu of this plan’s benefits for effecting any change of plan/disconnection." This itself leaves plenty of room for disputes, and ties subscribers down to a contract that they would ideally not leave until seeing out the entire duration of the contract.