India’s top carriers announce free voice calling plans after Jio’s rise
Back in September, Reliance Jio, a telecom carrier, announced its plans to turn India’s phone market on its head. With plans that offer free voice calls, Jio shook up the market of nearly one billion phone users and forced its big players to act. Both Airtel and Vodafone, the two biggest carriers in the country, have now announced similar plans, just three months later.
So how did Reliance Jio manage to change the entire mobile phone market in the span of mere months? First of all, it offered very cheap free voice calls as part of its plans. In a market where the biggest carrier (Airtel) makes 70 percent of its revenue from voice calls, that’s a bold strategy. Furthermore, Reliance Jio also offered free 4G data in some of its plans, as well as access to a bundle of content. And that’s how the carrier got its 50 million subscribers, a breathtaking 400 subscribers per minute since it launched.
The big players in India apparently didn’t think they had much choice, in the face of the incredulous growth of their competitor. To put things into perspective, Airtel and Vodafone have 260 and 220 million subscribers respectively. Vodafone is now offering two new plans. The cheaper one, costing around 2 dollars, will only allow free calls inside the Vodafone network. The second, however, priced at 5 dollars, will include nation-wide calls for free. Airtel’s plans are almost identical in regards to the free calls and pricing.
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