One-Year Data Plans from Airtel, Reliance & Jio. Are The Plans Worth?

Vishal Chauhan, 04/02/2019
One-Year Data Plans from Airtel, Reliance & Jio. Are The Plans Worth?

Mobile operators, thanks to the entry of Reliance Jio have been forced to bring down their data prices in the country. Indian mobile users are probably buying the cheapest data plans in the world, but that hasn’t helped the overall health of the Indian telecom sector.

Which is why, the likes of Jio, Airtel and Vodafone-Idea among others, are now looking to play the long-term card, by enticing users to opt for long duration plans, that offer validity for as long as 365 days (one year). You also get showered with a minimum of 1GB data per day and some other benefits.

But the question we’re asking is, does it make sense to lock you up with a single operator for a year by paying in full, which to be honest doesn’t work out any cheaper?

Here’s a look at what the top three telecom players are offering with their respective data plans worth Rs 1,699.

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As you can see from the above table, Jio takes the cake with its one-year plan by offering 500MB data per day more than its rivals. This translates into over 547.5GB of 4G data available to users, and once you’ve consumed the daily quota, the speed trickles down to 64kbps.

Talking about other details of the plans, you get 100 free SMS per day, and unlimited voice calls that have become free ever since the market was disrupted by Jio in 2016.

Free 4G voice and data plans have hit the telcos badly.

Having said that, you must know that Jio’s data is confined to 4G, while Airtel, Vodafone and Idea give you the option to use it for 3G or 4G data, depending on the available network in the region. 

These plans counter the one- and three-month offerings from the telcos, which for the consumers turns out to be much cheaper, but for the companies the average revenue per user (ARPU) doesn’t see a big increase. These plans lock in users for longer.

So, let’s say you pay Rs 1,699 for plans on Airtel or Vodafone-Idea, their annual numbers, with their respective set of user bases grow.

Should You Go for It?

If you look at the fine print, in terms of the money you end up saving or spending, the annual plans end up forcing you to put in more money. How’s that? Let’s say you go for Jio’s Rs 1,699 plan for 12 months, now when you calculate it comes to around Rs 141.5 per month.

Now if you compare it with the Rs 399 plan (deduct Rs 50 for the discount vouchers the telco is doling out), the plan works out to around Rs 116 per month. Basically, the annual plan, offering the same amount of data per day, costs you more than a regular three-month plan.

Also, it is worth noting the Rs 1,699 plan is a prepaid scheme, which means investing in a 12-month plan, at least for basic users, doesn’t sound like a wise idea to us.

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