Airtel, Vodafone, Idea have taken low-key route to announce new plans countering Jio

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NEW DELHI:India’s Big 3 telecom carriers are text messaging aggressive tariff plans to their customers as they seek to counter the offers doled out by newcomer Reliance Jio Infocomm.

Bharti Airtel, Vodafone and Idea Cellular have taken the rather private route to announce the new offers as they do not want a head on clash with Mukesh Ambani-led Jio, which had in a statement last month said it will monitor all publicly announced tariff plans and provide at least 20% more data to users on every plan offered by its rivals.

“They are not publicising these plans to avoid all out clash with Jio since it has publicly announced to match their best offers and offer 20% more data,” Rohan Dhamija, head for India and South Asia at telecom consulting firm Analysys Mason, told ET.

Airtel, Vodafone and Idea did not respond to emailed queries seeking comment on reasons for not publicly disclosing their new offers. But executives at the top three said the offers have not been publiciSed as they are directed at a particular segment. This though is in stark contrast to the past practice when telcos would go public with offers meant even for a specific consumer segments.

Dhamija said new offers are essentially a retention strategy aimed at high-end data users or subscribers that have an average revenue per user (ARPU) of Rs 300 plus. A senior industry executive said the main battle between the top telcos and Jio will now be fought over the Rs 300-350 plans. Bharti Airtel India CEO Gopal Vittal has also sent emails to post-paid users promising more “surprise free data starting March 13”. The mails, however, did not give details. “We don’t do PR for 5% of our products. We do when the product is meant for all the markets. These new offers are segmented offers,” an executive at one of the top telcos said.

Earlier, Bank of America Merrill Lynch had said that the telcos will not be too bothered with Jio’s comment on monitoring tariff plans.

“Top telcos may have many offers which they do not even publicize and may offer customer-made packages to many,” it had said.