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General News Vodafone beats Reliance Jio, Airtel in international roaming rates
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The disruption in the telecom sector created by Reliance Jio has unnerved old telcos in a big way. In the past one year, Jio has been able to garner a significant market share on the back of dirt-cheap data rates and free voice calls. Jio's entry has left incumbent telcos bleeding, and accelerated large-scale consolidation. The competition became more intense recently when the telecom regulator TRAI decided to slash the interconnection charges, or IUC, from 14 paise per minute to 6 paise per minute for wireless-to-wireless calls. The decision will supposedly adversely impact the incumbent operators and benefit Jio.

While Jio is baying for market share in the domestic market, its competitiveness in the international roaming seems to be limited as compared to old operators. Take the case of Vodafone India's international roaming pack for Singapore - the most preferred overseas destination for Indians. It offers seven days pack for Rs 2,500 that offers unlimited free data, free calling (incoming, outgoing and international) and free SMSes. Vodafone offers one more pack for Singapore - priced at Rs 500 - that offers the same facility for one day. Besides, there's one pay-per-use plan priced at Rs 599 for 10 days. In this pack, the customers have to separately pay for calls, data and SMS.

In comparison, Jio's doesn't have customized international roaming packs. It only has pay-per-use rates for all countries that are far more expensive than other large telcos. For instance, its outgoing calls from Singapore to India is priced at Rs 142.5 per minute, income calls at Rs 71.25 per minute, outgoing SMS at Rs 23.75 and data at Rs 6.18 per 10 kilobyte (KB).

The market leader Airtel's international roaming products are priced better than Jio but not as economical as Vodafone. Airtel offers three international roaming packs for Singapore priced at Rs 498 (for one day), Rs 1,197 (for 10 days) and Rs 2,498 (for 30 days). In the 10-day pack, the users get unlimited free incoming calls, the other facilities are charged separately. For instance, there are only 250 minutes of free outgoing calls to India and within Singapore, 100 SMSes and 3 gigabytes (GBs) of data.

The third-largest telco Idea Cellular offers Singapore international roaming pack for Rs 1,199 (for 10 days) that is better than Jio, and almost at par with Airtel. For instance, it gives 2 GBs data, 250 minutes of free outgoing calls, 100 SMSes, and unlimited free incoming calls.

At the last count, Jio's subscriber base stood at 128.58 million in August as compared to Airtel's 281.04 million, Vodafone India's 208.14 million and Idea Cellular's 191.06 million. The market experts say that Jio is presently focusing on the Indian market, and once it reaches a critical subscriber base, it will look beyond India. So older telcos might be losing ground to Jio in India, they seem to be more aggressive with their pricing in the international market.

Source:
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Airtel Digital HD Recorder / Kerala Vision Digital TV
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