Both the companies had earlier capped outgoing calls to network of other telecom operators at 1,000 minutes in plan with 28-days validity, 3,000 minutes in 84-days validity and 12,000 in 365 days validity plan. Beyond this limit, customers were required to pay 6 paisa per minute for outgoing calls made to other networks.
Reliance Jio, however, claimed that free-call limit under its plans are five times more than normal usage and its mobile service remains cheaper than rivals by up to 25 per cent.
Bharti Airtel, in a tweet, said, “We heard you! And we are making the change. From tomorrow, enjoy unlimited calling to any network in India with all our unlimited plans. No conditions apply.” Vodafone Idea too made similar announcement on Twitter.
“Here’s to unlimited possibilities with free unlimited calling, even to other networks,” Vodafone Idea tweeted with note that the changes are effective from December 6 onward -- the day Reliance Jio raised the price of it mobile calling and internet plans by about 40 per cent.
The Mukesh Ambani-led firm announced some plans that were 15-25 per cent cheaper than that of the competitors. However, it has made no change in free call limit to other networks till Saturday evening.
When contacted, Reliance Jio spokesperson said, “Entitlement for off net calls in Jio’s ‘All in One Plans’ is more than five times of what an average customer uses as per industry data and consequently, an average Jio customer is unlikely to have to ever pay for off net calls.
We reiterate that Jio plans offer up to 25 per cent higher value than comparable plans of other operators.” Airtel and Vodafone Idea on December 1 announced new plans under which call and data charges became dearer for its pre-paid customers by up to 50 per cent from December 3.
Both companies announced new plans in “unlimited”category with 2 days, 28 days, 84 days, 365 days validity, which on the back of the envelope calculations show higher price of up to 50 per cent.
Bharti Airtel increased its entry level unlimited plan with a year long validity by about 50 per cent to Rs 1,499 from with 24 GB of data in place of Rs 998 plan with 12 GB data usage limit.
The 365 days valid plan in the same category with daily data usage limit of 1.5 GB per day now costs 41.2 per cent more at Rs 2,398 compared to Rs 1,699 plan.
Vodafone Idea plans were priced about Re 1 higher compared to that of Airtel.
The company also announced three new plans - Rs 219 with 28 days validity offering 1 GB per day, Rs 399 and Rs 449 plan with 56 days validity each, offering 1.5 Gb and 2 GB data usage, respectively.
With removal of the limit, Airtel’s new Rs 399 plans with 56 days validity became cheaper than that of Reliance Jio plan at the same price.
Vodafone Idea too have added Rs 219 plan with same offering as announced by Bharti Airtel.
The move from both the companies follows the Supreme Court judgment on adjusted gross revenue.
Bharti Airtel has posted a staggering Rs 23,045 crore net loss for the second quarter ended September 30, due to provisioning of Rs 28,450 crore in the aftermath of the Supreme Court ruling on statutory dues.
According to government data, the liabilities in the case of Bharti Airtel add up to nearly Rs 35,586 crore, of which Rs 21,682 crore is licence fee and another Rs 13,904.01 crore is the SUC dues (excluding the dues of Telenor and Tata Teleservices).
The government is currently not considering any proposal on waiver of penalties and interest on outstanding licence fee based on adjusted gross revenue (AGR), or on extending the timelines for telecom companies to pay up their statutory dues.