Telecom operator Reliance Jio has claimed that it is offering five times more free outgoing calls limit on other networks than an average customer requires and they are unlikely to pay for the calls. The Mukesh Ambani-led telecom operator added that its new plan are offering up to 25 per cent more value than that of rivals. Reaction from Reliance Jio came after Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea removed cap on outgoing calls limit outside their network with effect from December 6, the day Reliance Jio rolled out mobile call and data plans priced up to 40 per cent compared to previous offerings.
"Entitlement for off-net calls in Jio's 'All in One Plans' is more than 5 times of what an average customer uses as per industry data and consequently, an average Jio customer is unlikely to have to ever pay for off net calls. We reiterate that Jio plans offer up to 25 per cent higher value than comparable plans of other operators," Reliance Jio said in a statement.
The company is offering 1,000 minutes per month (28-day cycle) of free calling every month across all plans. Both Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea earlier capped outgoing calls to other networks at 1,000 minutes in plan with 28-days validity, 3,000 minutes in 84-day validity and 12,000 in 365 days validity plan. Beyond this limit, customers were required to pay 6 paise per minute for outgoing calls made to other networks.
"We heard you! And we are making the change. From tomorrow, enjoy unlimited calling to any network in India with all our unlimited plans. No conditions apply," Bharti Airtel said in a tweet on Friday. Vodafone Idea also made similar announcement on Twitter.
"Here are unlimited possibilities with free unlimited calling, even to other networks," Vodafone Idea tweeted with note that the changes are effective from December 6 onward. Both Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea have raised their mobile calls and internet plan prices by up to 50 per cent from December 3.
Bharti Airtel increased its entry-level unlimited plan with a year-long validity by about 50 per cent to Rs 1,499 with 24 GB of data in place of Rs 998 plan with 12 GB data usage limit.
The price of the 365-day valid plan with daily data usage limit of 1.5 GB per day now costs 41.2 per cent more at Rs 2,398 compared to Rs 1,699 plan. Vodafone Idea plans were priced about Re 1 higher compared to that of Airtel.
Vodafone also announced three new plans -- Rs 219 with 28 days validity offering 1 GB per day, Rs 399 and Rs 449 plan with 56 days validity each, offering 1.5 Gb and 2 GB data usage, respectively.
With removal of the limit, Airtel's new Rs 399 plans with 56 days validity became cheaper than that of Reliance Jio plan at the same price. Vodafone Idea has also added Rs 219 plan with same offering as announced by Bharti Airtel.
The move to raise mobile services tariff follows the Supreme Court's judgment on adjusted gross revenue in October. Bharti Airtel has posted a staggering Rs 23,045 crore net loss for the second quarter ended September 30, due to provisioning of Rs 28,450 crore in the aftermath of the Supreme Court ruling on statutory dues.
According to government data, the liabilities in the case of Bharti Airtel add up to nearly Rs 35,586 crore, of which Rs 21,682 crore is licence fee and another Rs 13,904.01 crore is the spectrum usage charge dues (excluding the dues of Telenor and Tata Teleservices).
The government is currently not considering any proposal on waiver of penalties and interest on outstanding licence fee based on adjusted gross revenue, or on extending the timelines for telecom companies to pay up their statutory dues.