The telecom industry is going through a major transformation, all thanks to Jio's disruptive data and voice call plans. Now, the Anil Ambani-backed Reliance Communications has jumped into the competition with Jio, which is run by his elder brother Mukesh Ambani.
To most ends, RCom's plans are identical to those of Jio, giving mobile users a tough choice between the two. It's worth noting that Jio hasn't commenced its commercial rollout and it is still offering free data, calls, national roaming and SMS to its users, which is far from any telecom operator has offered to date.
Starting January 1, 2017, Jio's paid plans will kick in, which are still better than most of the operators' offerings. RCom's latest data and voice plans come very close to the competition. Like Jio, Reliance Communications is offering its users unlimited voice calls to any phone, both landline and mobile, in India.
RCom prepaid users can take advantage of the new plans, which start at Rs 149 per 28 days. The new plans include free incoming calls during national roaming and free 4G data.
Mobile users can choose from three plans available right now. With Rs 149 Data Combo plan, customers get 300MB 4G data, while the data limit can be increased to 2GB by paying Rs 299 and 4GB for Rs 499. All plans have a standard validity of 28 days, and come with unlimited voice calls.
So, why choose Jio over RCom?
A sensible question to ask. Although RCom is making it very hard to ignore these new plans, Jio plans have extra benefits such as 100 SMS free per day, double data on Wi-Fi usage, no premium charges on special occasions such as Diwali and Christmas and finally calls over VoLTE, which offers better call quality and connects almost instantly.
But Jio is in bit of a dark place right now. It hasn't been able to overcome the challenges of reliable voice call coverage due to the lack of co-operation from its competitors, who have allegedly failed to release sufficient interconnect points to Jio.
Assuming the new telco manages to overcome the current problems, it will be one of the top carriers in India. But that's a major obstacle from where we see it and only time will tell how well Jio makes its stand in the current market.