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Update: Airtel, Vodafone play down Jio rates, say will revise theirs shortly
NEW DELHI: Bharti Airtel and Vodafone India will soon revise their tariff plans in a bid to try and retain their high revenue customers from switching over to rival Reliance Jio Infocomm's network who is offering free voice calling and data at dirt cheap rates.

In separate presentations to their retail vendors, both the companies have also questioned Jio Chairman Mukesh Ambani's promise of 1 GB data for Rs 50. Both have said that Jio Infocomm is offering 1GB data at the lowest rate of Rs 67 and not at Rs 50 as stated by Ambani last week.

"The presentations were made by the companies to help their vendors answer queries raised by customers," sources told ET. While market leader Airtel declined to comment on the presentation, No. 2 ranked Vodafone confirmed the communication.

"Jio is not offering Rs 50 per GB in any mobile plan. Lowest rate offered is Rs 67 per GB. Voice user needs to shell out a minimum of Rs 149 and data user need to shell out Rs 499," Airtel has explained in the presentation.

Airtel further termed the Jio tariff as "just a marketing gimmick," and claimed that it offers the lowest mobile data rates in the country and is the only operator in the country offering 1 GB data for Rs 50.

Jio didn't immediately respond to emailed questions for comment.

Jio services were launched commercially on Monday, September, with a welcome offer of free voice and data services till December 31, followed by plans which offered voice for free and data are a a fifth of current market rates, pegged at around Rs230 a GB.

Both operators say that they will soon revise their tariff plans for high average per revenue (ARPU) customers, highlighting that they would soon respond to the tariff war Jio unleashed last Thursday.

"Vodafone already has matching rates in the popular Rs 250-Rs 999 ranges. Our Rs 1499 plans and above will be revised soon," Vodafone has said in the slides.

Similarly, Airtel too has said that it will revise its tariff plans for high ARPU customers in both the prepaid and the post-paid segments. In postpaid, segments the company will soon revise the offerings in the Rs 2499 and higher tariff plans where as in the prepaid segment it will revise its offerings in the Rs 3999 and higher tariff plans.

"You need to have a 4G handset that supports VoLTE to be able to make voice calls. Whereas with Vodafone, in case 4G is weak or is not available in a place, you will still enjoy the services on 2G/3G network. Also our network supports all devices," Vodafone has said in its presentation.

Both companies have highlighted that for a Jio connection, a user must have a 4G handset, which isn't the case with Airtel and Vodafone, whose networks will work on any handset.

Among the disadvantages of Jio network, both the companies in their respective presentations have said that for Jio's network is not as ubiquitous as theirs which means a patchy coverage.

The presentation highlights that Jio's network will be limited especially in highways and in rural areas, unlike Airtel's and Vodafone's who have the largest network coverage including all services - 2G/3G and 4G.

The incumbents said that the free benefits on a Jio SIM is only available for one registered handset. "Benefits are not given when a user changes handsets," the telcos have claimed in their presentation.

Airtel Digital HD Recorder / Kerala Vision Digital TV
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