Airtel has launched a new prepaid STV (special tariff voucher) that offers 2GB of data each day, alongside unlimited voice calls, free national roaming, and 100 SMSes daily. The plan costs Rs 499, and comes with a validity of 82 days. The STV is expected to compete against similar offerings from the likes of Reliance Jio, which has been growing at a breakneck speed by offering super-fast LTE data at ultra-affordable price-points.
Meanwhile, Airtel itself offers a couple more prepaid vouchers in the same price-range, one of which costs Rs 448, and provides 1.4GB data per day alongside the now-obligatory free voice calls, SMSes and roaming for 82 days. The company also offers a Rs 509 pack that comes with the exact same benefits as that of the Rs 448 pack, but has a validity of 90 days instead of 84.
In addition to its existing lineup of prepaid recharge options, Jio recently introduced a Rs. 251 IPL pack that offers 2GB of data per day over a period of 51 days. State-owned telecom giant BSNL also offers a similar recharge voucher for its customers around the country in the form of a Rs 248 STV that comes with the exact same validity, but offers 3GB of daily data instead of the 2GB being offered by Jio. However, unlike the private carrier, it can only offer 3G speeds in most of the country except for Kerala, where it recently launched its 4G services.
For a country starved of high-speed data not so long ago, it’s amazing what one single company has been able to do by offering its services at prices people can actually afford. With the pricing wars only expected to heat up in the coming months, it will be interesting to see how some of the incumbents will retain their customers, given the sheer goodwill the Mukesh Ambani-led company has earned since its launch.