The fierce tariff war that Reliance Jio’s arrival into the Indian telecom space has started, is unlikely to end anytime soon. Every day, telecom operators are coming up with increasingly-lucrative recharge plans to one-up the competition. However, the best thing about this rivalry is that in the end, the customer is the winner.
Now, almost all major telecom operators offer combo plans (generally having unlimited calling benefits and vast data allowance, among other goodies) that are more-or-less identical to each other. But what if you don’t really need one gigabyte of data per day? What if your calling needs don’t exceed a handful of calls a month? In that case, which telco’s offering(s) are the most value for your money?
We compare the best ultra-affordable combos from the three biggies of the Indian telecom sector – Vodafone, Airtel, and Reliance Jio – to find out.
Vodafone | Effective monthly cost: Rs 81-92
Priced at Rs 35, Vodafone’s entry-level recharge plan comes with a validity of 28 days. With this, you get a talk-time of Rs 26, outgoing calls at 2.5p/second, and 100MB of data. This plan is ideal if you don’t do too many outgoing calls. However, if you think the data allowance is a little low, you can combine this plan with the telco’s Rs 46 data pack, which offers 1GB of high-speed data for 28 days. Therefore, you can have a fair amount of calls and data, at a monthly effective price of Rs 81.
Conversely, if your calling requirements are a bit on a higher side, but you don’t need that much data, you can go for Vodafone’s Rs 65 recharge plan. Having a talk time of Rs 55, it offers outgoing calls at 1p/second and 200MB data, with a validity of 28 days. This can be clubbed with the telco’s Rs 27 data pack, which comes with 500MB data for 28 days. The effective monthly cost of this combo comes out to be Rs 92, which is still very reasonable.
Airtel | Effective monthly cost: Rs 65-133
If you’re an Airtel subscriber, you can go for Airtel’s ‘Smart Recharge’ packs, which are quite similar to what Vodafone offers. The base-level ‘Smart Recharge’ is priced at Rs 35 and offers a talk time of Rs 26.66 with 100MB data for 28 days. However, Airtel lacks any affordable data packs. At the minimum, the telco offers 3GB data for 28 days at Rs 98. While the data allowance is quite generous compared to Vodafone, when combined with the base voice plan, it takes the overall monthly cost to Rs 133, which is a significantly higher than Vodafone’s effective monthly cost.
But, you don’t have to opt for a combo here. Instead, you can go for Airtel’s Rs 95 ‘Smart Recharge’, which not only offers full talk time of Rs 95, but also outgoing tariff of 30p/minute on local/STD/roaming calls. Having a validity of 28 days, this pack also comes bundled with 500MB data.
That said, there’s also another ‘Smart Recharge’ worth Rs 65 that you can go for. Identical to Vodafone’s offering, it comes with a talk time of Rs 55 and outgoing tariff of 1p/second. With a validity of 28 days, the pack offers 200MB data.
Reliance Jio | Effective monthly cost: Rs 49-98
In case you are a Reliance Jio subscriber (or planning to get your number ported), things are quite simple. In case you couldn’t care less about a smartphone and just want voice calls, you can go for Jio’s entry-level Rs 49 plan, which only works with its JioPhone and JioPhone 2 ‘smart feature phones’. Having a validity of 28 days, this plan gives unlimited voice calling (both local and STD) benefits. There’s also 1GB of data bundled in, in case you feel like using WhatsApp, YouTube, and Facebook on the JioPhone and JioPhone 2’s small displays.
Watch: JioPhone First Look
On the other hand, if you have a proper smartphone, you can opt for Reliance Jio’s Rs 98 plan. It comes with a validity of 28 days, offering both unlimited voice calls and 2GB data. This makes it ideal for those who use voice calls heavily but aren’t really that big on data usage. What’s good in case of Jio is that you not only get 300 text messages, but also complimentary access to Jio’s entire suite of apps.