Airtel Launches Family Offerings With Free Additional SIMs To Counter Reliance Jio

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Competition is rapidly intensifying in the higher revenue-generating postpaid mobile business segment. Bharti Airtel has just launched a new postpaid family plan variant, priced aggressively at Rs 599, and also unveiled two new variants of its all-in-one Airtel Black plans priced at Rs 799 and Rs 998, in moves clearly aimed at fortifying its postpaid family offerings and countering Reliance Jio.

The Sunil Mittal-led telco’s latest postpaid offerings come on the heels of its recent unlimited 5G data offer (launched last Friday) that was also aimed to hold on to its higher-paying postpaid flock and take on Jio’s new postpaid plans announced last week.

Airtel’s new Rs 599 postpaid family plan, which will directly counter Jio’s recently launched Rs 699 premium family postpaid offer, allows users to add up to two extra SIM cards to the plan at no additional cost. The new family plan variant also includes Amazon Prime/Disney Hotstar subscriptions, a 105 GB monthly data allowance and data rollovers. It is also a composite price postpaid pack with no hidden costs towards deposits, taxes or activation.

The new Airtel Black pack variants, priced at Rs 799 and Rs 998, also allow users to add two extra postpaid SIMs (read: mobile connections) at no additional cost and include over-the-top (OTT) content via Amazon Prime/Disney Hotstar subscriptions and a 105 GB monthly data allowance. Further, the Airtel Black plan priced at Rs 799 offers a DTH connection while the more premium Rs 998 variant comes with a broadband connection (but no DTH). Both plans will allow consumers to accumulate unused monthly data, via rollovers. The company, though, will keep the base Airtel Black plan, priced at Rs 699, which continues to offer broadband and DTH, but won’t offer extra SIMs available on the new higher-priced variants.

At present, around 6% of Airtel’s over 332 million subscribers use postpaid plans, while it’s roughly 10% of Vi’s 228.6 million users. For Jio, its postpaid base is under 5% of its overall 430 million-plus subscriber base.

“The new Rs 599 family plan and the new Airtel Black variants are aimed at broadening the company’s bouquet of family postpaid offerings, growing its postpaid user base and boosting ARPU.” a top Airtel executive told ET. He added that Airtel’s new postpaid plan variants with the additional SIMs offerings, are being primarily targeted at delivering more value to smallish young families where some members may be working away from their hometowns.

Jio’s recently launched Rs 699 family postpaid plan includes Netflix and Amazon Prime subscriptions. But users will have to shell out an extra Rs 99 for each additional SIM. Last Tuesday, Jio had also unveiled two new individual and family postpaid plans, starting at Rs 299 and Rs 399, respectively. The Rs 399 Jio plan allows postpaid users to add up to three extra SIM cards, but each at a cost of Rs 99.

Analysts said Airtel’s two-stage counter is aimed at thwarting market leader, Jio from poaching its higher revenue-generating postpaid users.

Airtel’s initial unlimited 5G data offer was made available to all postpaid users as well as prepaid ones with data plans of Rs 239 and above, encouraging its 4G users to upgrade to the next-gen wireless broadband service.

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