Happy New Year - Reliance Extends Free Jio Till March 2017
Mumbai: In what was predicted ever since Reliance Jio came out with its masterplan to virtually wipe competition off its feet with its introductory offer of free data and voice plans, the company today said both existing and new customers will continue to get the freebies till March 31, 2017.
The company had made the initial offer till December 31, 2016, a step that was vehemently opposed by other telecom providers led by Bharti Airtel. All the competitors first approached the telecom regulator TRAI with the Cellular Operators of India (COAI) also supporting them in the claim that the measure was anti-competitive.
However, after TRAI ruled that Reliance Jio was well within rights to provide the introductory offer, they followed up with tariff cuts of as much as 67 per cent for their 4G services, besides expanding its availability to more cities and towns across the country. It may be recalled that Vodafone had decided to write down the value of its India unit by more than $5.3 billion while cancelling its proposed IPO in the Indian bourses till end of March next year.
Jio services debuted on September 5 and were initially meant to be free until December. Ambani announced Thursday that, starting December 4, every customer would get a full bouquet of Jio services free until March 31. The company had in September announced tariff plans of as low as Rs. 149 ($2.18) a month for data and free mobile phone calls and roaming across India.
Here is what the new announcement means to existing and new users:
* The ‘everything-for-free’ offer was originally introduced in September and was to last till end of December. However, it has now been extended for another three months. This means that anyone signing up from now on will not be paying for voice or data services.
* Subscribers who went on board earlier would automatically get the three-month extension for the free benefits.
* However, the company has cut the top speed of data that a customer can use without any payment. It has been limited to 1GB of data per day as against 4GB earlier. After this, the speed would get throttled for the particular customer.
* Jio is the only 4G network where both voice and data travels through it. Others use a mix of 4G and 3G for data and 2G for voice calls.
* It was also announced today that 80 per cent of all Jio subscribers use under 1GB of data a day while the rest burn disproportionately high loads, thus resulting in congestion on the network. This is the reason for throttling the data post 1GB.
* Users would get free calls for life with no roaming charges within the country. Data prices, once they are introduced, would be among the cheapest in the world at Rs.50 per GB.
* Another announcement related to the rollout of Jio Money Merchant Solutions, a mobile payment application that would enable digital payments for small merchants at various points of transactions.
* For the moment, Jio Cinema, Music and other apps would continue to be made available free of charge to the existing and new customers.
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