Airtel has rolled out a new minimum recharge plan of INR 23, which allows the subscribers to keep the services running for 28 more days after the end of their existing plans. The plan does not offer additional data or talktime benefits. It simply extends the validity and offers SMS and regular calling.
Earlier, we reported that Airtel and Vodafone Idea set their minimum recharge limit to INR 35 to increase their average revenue per user (ARPU). Soon after the announcement, TRAI instructed the telecom operator to be more transparent about the minimum recharge plans. Airtel has been trying to sort out its prepaid recharge segments and the new minimum recharge plan is a part of a new prepaid strategy. The telco has reportedly removed several recharge plans in the past couple of months.
Airtel INR 23 Prepaid Recharge Plan Details
The new minimum recharge plan extends the validity of the account by 28 days. The plan offers SMS and calls at standard rates. Note that there are no data or talk time benefits involved. In comparison, the minimum recharge pack from Vodafone Idea offers other benefits as well. However, it starts with INR 35, which is way more than what Airtel’s plan costs. With the Airtel INR 23 recharge pack, subscribers will be able to make calls at 2.5p/sec, both local and STD. Furthermore, subscribers will be charged INR 1 for a local SMS and INR 1.5 for sending out a national SMS.
Although, the new minimum recharge plan does not offer any data or voice calling benefits, the prepaid recharge plan that includes all that starts at INR 25 only. This lowest prepaid recharge plan from Airtel comes with a talk time balance of INR 18.69 along with 10MB data. The INR 25 plan is valid for a period of 28 days. The other smart prepaid recharge offerings go as high as INR 245, which offer full talktime balance. The INR 245 plan offers 2GB data and also includes voice calling for 30 paise per minute. The prepaid recharge plan bears a validity of 84 days.
Minimum Recharge Packs Could Backfire on Airtel
The introduction of the minimum recharge pack is a recent gimmick. Both Airtel and Vodafone Idea started this scheme to weed out low-revenue generating customers. The minimum recharge plans are currently priced at INR 35, INR 65, INR 95, and now INR 23. The telecom operators started discontinuing the services if the users fail to get these recharge done. A lot of users ended up getting their SIMs deactivated even if they maintained sufficient balances in their accounts. The issue snowballed to reach to the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI), who asked the telecom operators to stop discontinuing the user services. To bring things down a notch, Airtel has rolled the new minimum recharge pack with a lower price ticket. However, the whole concept could backfire on the telecom operator as the subscribers are losing trust.
Vodafone Idea holds the majority share of the users in India and Reliance Jio is quickly catching up. If Airtel needs to keep its subscribers intact, there must be no room for any such issues. The telco is already losing its subscribers to Jio in the feature phone segment. If the telco completely shuts down the users who generate less revenue, it will end up in the low lines of the competition. Let’s see how lowering down the minimum recharge value works for Airtel.
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