As expected, Reliance Jio Infocomm, the telecom operator led by Mukesh Ambani, has totally overhauled its 4G tariffs ahead of ‘going commercial’.
The firm had unveiled one set of tariffs in September, and said that these would apply when it started charging for its services several months later.
However, many had said that the tariffs may be brought down further just before the services actually launched, and that is exactly what has happened.
Essentially, the firm has increased the data allowance on all its plans by several times, and now offers much more than Vodafone, currently the cheapest 4G provider.
However, to get these new plans, you have to sign up for their ‘Prime Membership’, which costs Rs 99 per year
For instance, the Rs 149 plan, which used to have 0.3 GB of 4G data, will now come with 2GB, while the 999 plan, which used to offer 10 GB will now come with 60 GB of 4G data. The Rs 1,999 plan, which used to offer 35 GB, will now give you 125 GB.
What is more is that the validity of some of the plans have also been increased. The validity of the 999 plan, for example, is 60 days, while that of the 1,999 plan is 90 days and that of the 9,999 plan is one year. The 4,999 plan is valid for six months.
On a per GB basis, the one-year plan is the cheapest at Rs 13.3 per GB, followed by the Rs 4,999 (six-month) plan at Rs 14.28 per GB and the Rs 1,999 plan at Rs 16 per GB.
On a per-month basis, the yearly plan will cost you about Rs 840 and give you about 62.5 GB per month. The 4,999 plan will cost you the same amount, but give you only 58.3 GB per month.
Not only are these the cheapest data tariffs in India, but these could also hurt the landlline-based players such as BSNL.
The plans will further increase the pressure on rivals such as Bharti Airtel and Idea Cellular, while spelling a bonanza for customers.
When Jio launched, Ambani had promised that his network would set off the video era in India, but given the tariffs unveiled at the time, many people had their doubts.
With the new set of tariffs, however, the billionaire has come closer to his stated intent of kicking off the video era.
The Rs 999 pack, for example, would allow a user to watch about 3 hours of video per day using his cellphone data service.
A year ago, 999 would have bought only 7.5 GB of data.
It should be noted that Bharti Airtel is likely to match these tariffs, though it remains to be seen whether or not Idea and Vodafone would do so as well. Airtel has almost as much spectrum as Jio and can afford to match the company tariff by tariff. However, the others have lower quantities of spectrum in use and would find it difficult to support the kind of data traffic generated by such plans and packs.