Sandeep Joshi

Major mobile operators reduce charges to widen base

  • Bharti Airtel brings down charge from Rs. 999 to Rs. 495
  • Hutch and Idea are also offering lifetime validity for Rs. 495

    NEW DELHI: Another round of price war has begun among mobile operators.

    Major players Airtel, Hutch, Reliance Communications and Idea have steeply reduced charges for their lifetime validity schemes to increase their subscriber base.

    While on Thursday, Bharti Airtel brought down the charge of its lifetime validity prepaid card from Rs. 999 to Rs. 495, along with Reliance Communications, on Friday two other major players Hutch and Idea also announced similar schemes.

    Hutch and Idea are now offering lifetime validity for Rs. 495, while Reliance Communications charges Rs. 499. Under the lifetime validity scheme, subscribers continue to receive incoming calls without getting their mobile phones recharged on a regular basis.

    Advantages

    Under Airtel and Hutch schemes, a subscriber will get full talktime (minus service tax) on all future recharges, but one has to use a minimum of Rs. 200 every six months to continue with the scheme. Both companies as well as Idea are giving Rs. 10 talktime in the offer.

    Earlier, Airtel, after launching the lifetime validity for Rs. 999, had later started offering the scheme at 11 monthly instalments of Rs. 99 each.

    In the case of Reliance Communications, the subscribers under the new offer would also get Rs.20 talktime and have to use Rs.125 every three months in order to continue the service. Reliance lifetime validity subscribers can use STD call cards that offer full talktime and call rates as low as Re.1 per minute. These cards are available in the denominations of Rs. 115, Rs. 225, Rs. 675 and Rs. 875.

    Under the scheme for GSM subscribers, all outgoing local and landline calls are usually charged at Rs. 1.99, and STD at Rs. 2.75, while SMS messages are charged at Re. 1 (local), Rs.2 (national) and Rs. 5 (international).