Idea offers unlimited voice calls and data to counter Jio's growth

The new plan will cost Rs 144 and it will have unlimited calling for recharges above Rs 144 and free roaming on Vodafone network and 50 Mb free data. For internet-enabled feature phones, customers get 50MB of data in addition to free Airtel to Airtel calls.

Days after Reliance Jio and BSNL extended their free services, mobile operators Bharti Airtel and Idea on Thursday launched almost identical schemes offering free calls and limited mobile internet use priced at around Rs 150 and Rs 350 with 28 days validity.

The Indian company has revealed a new price list for its Idea customers.

The other pack, Rs 344-349, will offer unlimited local and STD on all mobile and landline calls across the country with 50MB data for 28 days.

HSBC's Sharma said Airtel could see "some ARPU erosion and margin decline" if its higher-end customers move to the new Rs 345 plan that offers 1 GB of 4G data and free local/STD calls to any network, although the data limit may not be too attractive for heavy users.

The validity of both packs is 28 days. They allow users to make calls free of any additional charge across the country.

Along with the usual calling, the company is also bundling 1GB of 4G data for users with a 4G SIM card.

According to HSBC's Sharma, Bharti Airtel's latest free voice tariff plans suggest that the market leader is looking to take away the pricing lever being used by Jio to churn subscribers, a view backed by brokerage house Religare. Like the previous pack, it offers 50MB data in addition to free calls to any network to customers with basic mobile phones. This offer would be applicable for prepaid customers with a validity period of 28 days similar to other telcos.

Idea Cellular has launched two exciting monthly voice packs. While right now Reliance Jio users are under its "free offer", which was recently extended to March 31, 2017 under it "Happy New Year Offer", even after the service becomes chargeable, the voice calls and SMS, and incomings on national roaming, remains free for all its users for lifetime. "While we do not expect these plans to be materially ARPU-dilutive for Bharti, strategically it would appear that the company is willing to toe the line on free voice calls", Religare report said.

Next-generation Toyota GT86 expected by 2019
Fidel Castro's ashes interred in private ceremony in Cuba