Ever since Reliance Jio 4G services were launched, incumbent telecom operators have been working out different ways to compete with Jio. Telcos like Vodafone, Idea Cellular and Airtel are launching data plans with an aim to be at par with Reliane Jio s 4G plans. There is also an ongoing battle between Jio and the other telecom players regarding points of interconnect (POIs). Amid all this hustle and bustle, Airtel yesterday announced the launch of a special 4G data pack that offers free data” for 90 days. The 4G data pack is priced at Rs 1,495 for existing Airtel 4G prepaid customers and for new users, it is available for Rs 1,494. Also Read - Best Airtel prepaid plans under Rs 500: High-speed data, free access to streaming services, and moreAlso Read - Reliance JioFiber plans with free Voot Select subscription: Check plans, price, and other benefits
The 4G data pack offers 30GB of 4G data for a period of 90 days. This, if calculated comes to a round off figure of Rs 50 per GB. There s a catch here, though. After the 30GB 4G data is consumed, the speed would be throttled to 64Kbps. So technically, Airtel is not offering any free data which it claims to do so. Why so, firstly one would have to make a payment of Rs 1,495 just to avail the 30GB 4G data pack. So even if the price cuts down to Rs 50 per GB, you would have to pay Rs 1,495. Secondly, when you are paying Rs 1,495 for the 30GB 4G data, there is no question of free data. Instead, the free data comes after the 30GB is consumed, and the 4G speed is cut down to 64Kbps. Airtel is calling it free data, as earlier subscribers used to get 15GB of data for the same amount.
While there are many rejoicing on the fact that Airtel has pulled up a big gun to compete with Reliance Jio, there are some who have been able to read between the lines. A few tweets describing that people do realize Airtel s 4G data plan is not free.
Airtel came up wit 90 days free data plan at price of Rs.1494 for 4G users. If there is price then what is FREE 2compete wit Reliance jio?
Vikas R. Shinde (@shindevikas18) September 24, 2016
“90 days free data plan priced at Rs 1,494” https://t.co/Db9or2sEtm
Nithin (@Nithin) September 23, 2016
#airtel is offering 90 days free data plan priced at Rs 1,494 for 4G users. How is it free if they are charging a hefty price upfront?
Aviraj Singh (@avirajsingh) September 23, 2016
If compared with Reliance Jio s Welcome Offer, users get 4GB of data free every day till December 31 which comes to 128GB per month. After which, Reliance Jio s plans start at Rs 149 offering 0.3GB 4G data along with unlimited voice calls, free subscription to Jio apps for a month. The point here being that Airtel s free usage of the word for its 4G data pack is rather misleading and a clever way of putting things on the table.
Airtel and Reliance Jio are already at it with each other regarding the issue of points of interconnect (POIs). While Airtel claims that it has provided 2,100 POIs and another 1,000 POIs been given, Reliance Jio says that 10 crore calls fail per day from its network to Airtel. There have also been allegations made by Reliance Jio users who have said that Airtel is blocking calls being made to Reliance Jio connection. While Reliance Jio continues to fight against the POIs, its connection deserves, Airtel still claims that the POIs provided are sufficient enough to service 25 to 32 million customers. ALSO READ: Reliance Jio interconnect issue: Airtel s Sunil Mittal meets TRAI chairman R S Sharma