Reliance Jio Infocomm’s decision on Wednesday to offer unlimited voice and nearly 30 GB of data at a modest monthly charge of Rs 303 from April 1 has created quite the steer among rival telecom players like Bharti Airtel, Vodafone India and Idea Cellular to revisit their marketing plans to keep their customer base intact before the much anticipated price wars over data which could trigger off pretty soon.
As per industry reports, the telecom giants could be forced to slash data rates soon to hold on to their premier customers, analysts and industry experts said.
Reliance Industries chairman Mukesh Ambani on Tuesday said existing Jio customers would have to pay a nominal Rs 99 membership fee and another Rs 303 a month to avail of all the benefits of the unlimited voice and data “Happy New Year’ offer.
According to industry experts, upper-end customers on an average generate monthly ARPUs in the Rs 700-1,000 range, and that could fall sharply if the incumbent biggies are forced to reduce the price points of their heavy data packs.
Bank of America Merrill Lynch has a divergent view on Reliance's telecom strategy to gain a considerable chunk of the telcom market . “If Jio starts charging Rs 303 a month, such offers may not be dilutive for Bharti/Idea as their average ARPU is below Rs 200,” it said. The brokerage said Jio’s offer “might lead to some traffic moving back to top telcos”, adding that it is “not overly worried” about Jio’s stated ability to offer 20% discount on existing tariffs as “top telcos may have many offers which they do not even publicise and may even offer custom-made packages”.