With the launch of Jio 4G service likely within weeks and with people already thronging Reliance stores to get a free Jio SIM, India's biggest telecom company Airtel is now moving to defend its turf. Bharti Airtel has slashed 4G and 3G mobile internet charges by up to 80 percent to as low as Rs 51 per gigabyte (GB) under a special scheme.
Post exhaustion of 1GB data limit, the customers can get 1GB 4G or 3G recharges for just Rs 51 over a period of 12 months and there is no limit on the number of recharges during the period.
At present, Airtel offers 1GB of 3G or 4G mobile internet for Rs 259 valid for 28 days.
The company is also set to launch a similar scheme in lower denomination of Rs 748. Under this scheme, Airtel customers will get 1GB of 4G for Rs 99 over a period of six months.
"These prepaid packs are live in Delhi and will get launched across circles by August 31, 2016,"
the statement said.
Players like Airtel and Idea have upped the ante in mobile data pricing ahead of the upcoming commercial launch by Reliance Jio. The company had said it has over 1.5 million test users on its network.
Reliance Jio, which is gearing up to launch its 4G services, had also said during the recently-concluded quarter, it extended its trial services to all LYF devices users under the Jio LYF Preview Offer.
Additionally, Airtel also offers 50 per cent data "cashback" on the bandwidth consumed between 12am to 6am to prepaid customers if they subscribe to the savings plan by dialing 55555. This is free and hence is a great value to pre-paid customers. At the same time, Airtel users also get the 50 per cent data back of certain applications between 3am and 5am. YouTube, for example, allows users to schedule downloads between this period, leading to overall reduction in the cost of data.
For Airtel -- and other telecom companies like Vodafone and Idea -- these are challenging times, largely because of the impending entry of Jio. Although the official launch is yet to take place, Jio is offering 3-month unlimited and free 4G data to almost all Indian users using a 4G phone. The offer has resulted in a frenzy to get the Jio SIM and currently most Reliance Digital and Reliance Digital Express Mini stores have people queuing in front of them to get the Jio SIM.
Commenting on its latest offers, Ajai Puri, director Operations at Airtel India, said, "At Airtel, we are constantly innovating to provide superior experience and great value to our customers. With these innovative packs, we are redefining the value proposition on our data packs and allowing our customers get a lot more within the same budget."
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