Reliance Jio has got the new contract to serve as the telecom operator to Indian Railways. The telecom operator will be starting from January 1, replacing Bharti Airtel. To recall, Bharti Airtel has remained the telecom service provider to the Indian Railways for over 6 years and its CUG scheme expires on December 31. Railways have been looking to appoint a new service provider to cut back on their telephone bills and get better data services and looks like they found the one to provide exactly that.
Reliance Jio to Implement the New CUG Scheme
Railways public sector unit, RailTel was assigned the task to draft a new CUG (closed user group) scheme as the existing one is about to end. In the process, the Mukesh Ambani-owned telco got the contract to provide the services asked in the scheme. During the bidding, the telecom operators were asked to offer free voice calls and lower data rates. While the other telecom operators agreed to offer the voice calling benefits, Reliance Jio offered the best data rates. Furthermore, with Airtel, the voice calls outside of the Railways CUG were chargeable. Reliance Jio will keep it free for all the circles and the plans will be effective from January 1.
For Railways, Jio has divided its services into four different plans. Starting from the senior-most officials, there is a 60 GB plan for INR 125 per month. Note that this group contributes to only two percent of subscribers. For joint secretary level officials, the plan offers 45 GB for a monthly price of INR 99. This group contributes to 26 percent subscribers. For the C- Grade staff, with most subscribers (72 percent), there is a 30 GB plan, priced at INR 67 per month. Jio has is also offering a bulk SMS plan that is priced at INR 49 per month.
Subscribers from the Railway group will require to pay INR 10 for 2 GB of additional data after exhausting the data from the above-mentioned plans. In comparison, the regular subscribers of the telco only get 25 GB for INR 199, and the amount paid for the additional data is INR 20 for one 1 GB. However, this plan is still cheaper than what the other telcos are offering.
Reliance Jio Beats Bharti Airtel to Get the Deal
Like we mentioned earlier, Bharti Airtel has been serving the Indian Railways for 6 years now and the Railway decides to ditch it, this time around. Incidentally, it was a fair play as the CUG scheme demanded by the Railways was open for bid to all the major telcos. While Airtel and Vodafone were offering free calls, their data packs were costlier and that’s why Jio got the deal. The recharge plans from Reliance Jio have always been cheaper as compared to other telcos for regular users. The Railway officials believe that with the new CUG scheme worked out by Jio, the phone bills of the department will be reduced by 35 percent. During Airtel’s service period, Railways spent 100 crores every year on their phone bill. Airtel started with 1.95 Lakhs Railway employee accounts, which have now increased to 3.78 lakh and now Jio will handle these many accounts.
Although Reliance Jio got the contract based on the data and voice calling demands of the Indian Railways, it is worth mentioning that Jio recently aced a call drop test on three major Rail routes and 8 highways. The telco has been excelling in all the performance test lately.
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