While the Rs 1,500 (the so-called effectively free) Reliance Jio phone is not making life easy for its rivals, the likes of Vodafone, Airtel and BSNL are worried about something else entirely.
Much has been said about the JioPhone and its 4G internet prowess. But what appears to be bothering Reliance rivals is the prospect of free voice calling, which is bound to eat into their margins from voice calls.
In order to ensure that they do not lose out on their existing user base of feature phone users in various parts of India, telecoms are partnering with mobile brands to lure customers with bundle offers.
Jio has, in many ways, left its stamp on 4G penetration in the country. However, India is still predominantly a voice-centric market. Reports estimate that over 70 percent of telecom revenues are generated by voice calls in India.
This is why it comes as no surprise that Vodafone and Lava joining forces to retain its users in the feature phone arena. The mobile brand is giving cashbacks of up to Rs 900 on feature phones, along with Vodafone prepaid recharges.
Public entity BSNL is also expected to make a similar push in the voice-calling segment.
After cracking the 4G market with one of cheapest data plans in the world, Jio is keen to get existing 2G users to take the 4G plunge, and for the ‘effectively free’ prospect – they just might.