Airtel most aggressive rival against Reliance Jio’s Prime membership: Citi Research

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Airtel unlimited voice calls to any network with 1GB data per day for Rs 349.

As Reliance Jio moves to open up its prime membership from April 1, Bharti Airtel is seen to be the most aggressive rival to match its prices, a research report has said. Citi Research, a part of the Institutional Group, which also comprises the Citibank, says that all the incumbent telecom operators have moved to meet the Jio challenge, in various degrees, though Idea Cellular and Vodafone India have been behind Airtel in aggressiveness.

“We visited exclusive outlets of Bharti, Vodafone and Idea in Mumbai to compare price plans with Jio’s Prime offer. While all have responded, their plans don’t appear to be marketed as aggressively and currently appear more as a tool to reduce churn,” the report said. “Further, their reluctance to fully match Jio is likely due to the latter’s intention to remain aggressive, combined with their concerns on revenue protection. Bharti, as market leader, is not only taking the lead to counter Jio but appears to be the most aggressive. It is followed by Idea and lastly Vodafone. Further tariff action would be contingent upon Jio’s user traction,” it added.

As part of Jio’s Prime Offer unlimited voice (off-net/on-net) and 2GB per month is given at Rs 149 and unlimited voice (off-net/on-net) and 1GB data per day is available at Rs 303. In addition, the company is also giving freebies cashback and additional data on earlier payment for prime offer. Bharti Airtel is offering unlimited on-net voice and 300MB per month for Rs 146 and unlimited off-net/on-net calls and 1GB data per day for Rs 349.

“Data was initially split equally between day and night time but now these limits have been removed. This plan, across incumbents, comes closest to Jio’s Rs 303 offer,” the report said.

Idea Cellular is offering unlimited on-net voice and 300MB per month for Rs 148 and unlimited off-net/on-net calls and 1GB per day for Rs 348. Data is split equally between day and night time (11pm-6am). While Vodafone India is offering unlimited on-net voice and 300MB per month for Rs 146 and unlimited off-net/on-net calls and 20GB per month for Rs 345 but only 10GB of each month’s allowance can be used in the same month. Therefore, from second month onwards, subscribers can use 20GB 10GB of the previous month and 10GB of the ongoing month.

“Apart from the prime offers, Jio has also stated that it would offer 20 percent more data allowance compared to incumbents’ highest selling tariff plans,” the report said. “The incumbents appear to be trying to stave off further rounds of price cuts and while we expect Idea and Vodafone would match Bharti in near future, our conversation with incumbents’ highlight they are now in wait-and-watch mode; further reaction would depend upon Jio’s user traction,” it added.

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