Can Airtel bounce back from Jio's impact?
[Representational Image] Reliance Jio vs Airtel: Top telecom player launches new data pack with free voice-calls to counter rival Happy New Year offer. In Picture: Airtel logoReuters

Leading telecom player Airtel on Thursday launched two subsidised pre-paid data packs with lucrative deals in India.

"This is another initiative from us to bring innovative bundle offers to our customers in line with our endeavour to provide the great value backed by a superior network experience," Ajai Puri, director – Market Operations (India & South Asia), Bharti Airtel, said in a statement.

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Airtel's new data packs come in two price ranges — Rs. 145 and Rs. 345. Prospective buyer,s who purchase the smaller denomination package are entitled to get 300 MB data (with 4G ready mobile phones) along with free local and STD Airtel-to-Airtel calls.

If the users go for the Rs. 345 package, they get 1GB data (with 4G ready mobile phones) along with free calls ( both local and STD) to any network in India.

Both the data packs also offer 50 MB data to customers with basic mobile phones, which are ideally suited for web surfing and accessing light social media applications. The pack has a validity of 28 days and is available to customers across India.

Airtel's new move is seen as the company's strategy to counter debutant Reliance Jio's recently announced Happy New Year offer.

Launched in September, Reliance Jio immediately kicked off the promotional campaign by announcing free welcome offer, which included free unlimited HD Voice (VoLTE: Voice-over-LTE), video calling, unlimited SMS (9000) and unlimited high speed data till December 31, 2016.

This apparently led to record subscriptions to the Reliance Jio service. Within 83 days of its launch, the company witnessed more than 50 million registrations, which is equivalent to adding 6 lakh customers per day.

Many rivals accused Reliance Jio's freebies as predatory in nature and just when the welcome offer was about to expire, the company's MD and chairman Mukesh Ambani on December 1 launched the "Happy New Year Offer," which extended the freebies to all its 50 million plus subscribers till March 31, 2017. This has in turn infuriated the incumbent players.

Besides Airtel, Vodafone, Aircel, BSNL and Anil Ambani-owned Reliance Communication are the ones to dole out similar internet packs in India.

Considering Reliance's Happy New Year offer is slated to end on March 31, 2017, rivals in their bid to arrest the mass migration, will dole out lucrative deals to its customers for the next few months.