Telecom operators Airtel and Vodafone-Idea may soon do away with life-time free incoming plans by charging a minimum amount from subscribers to keep their number in use.
Telcos feel that the aggressive competition in the market led by Reliance Jio has not only impacted their revenue, but also have led them to revamp the current tariffs.
Customers will no longer be able to avail life-time free incoming calls. This comes as a shock for many users, but it is not to be confused with minute-by-minute incoming charges. Telecom operators will not charge incoming calls per minute. Subscribers will have to recharge with a minimum amount for a certain validity period to enjoy the free incoming calls.
Airtel has launched a couple of minimum recharge plans. On its website Airtel has listed out three such recharge plans – Rs 35, Rs 65 and Rs 95. These recharge plans come with data, tariff cutter, talk-time and 28 days of validity.
Similarly Vodafone-Idea has said that the company is doing away with life-time free plans as a way to boost revenue by charging at least Rs 30 a month from such subscribers who are “substantial” in number.
Jio’s entry two years ago has hurt each of the entrenched telcos, resulting in the merger of Vodafone and Idea, and exit by RCom and Tata Tele, apart from the financial and job losses and even bankruptcies.
In the September 2018 quarter, Jio led the Arpu chart with Rs 131.7 (still down from Rs 135 y-o-y), followed by Airtel at Rs 101, but massively down from Rs 142 y-o-y, and Vodafone Idea had the lowest at Rs 88.
Also, barring Jio, none of the other two operators showed any growth in profit. While Jio reported a net income of Rs 681 crore, up from Rs 612 crore a year ago, Airtel reported a steep 65.7 percent fall in its net income at Rs 118.80 crore and Vodafone Idea a massive consolidated net loss of Rs 4,973 crore on a consolidated revenue of Rs 7,663 crore for the September quarter.