Currently, all telecom operators in India except Reliance Jio offer prepaid plans, which don’t come with truly unlimited voice calling. But this may change in the near future. At least for private carrier consumers, there may not be more prepaid packages that bundle the benefits of voice calling with set minutes. The only plans without unlimited voice calling in India currently cost anything under 150 rupees. Mostly these are plans that are minimal recharge options, like Airtel’s Rs 99 plan.
But recently, according to ICICI Securities, Airtel removed the Rs 99 scheme from two circles – Haryana (B Circle) and Odisha (C Circle). In both circles, the minimum recharge or prepaid plan is Rs 155. And the Rs 155 plan comes with truly unlimited voice calls. Thus, there are no more prepaid plans that don’t offer unlimited voice calling in these two circuits right now.
Will the same thing happen with Airtel prepaid plans in other circles?
If the move works for Airtel, the carrier may implement it in other circuits soon, too. This means that there will be no more prepaid plans on offer from Airtel that don’t come with unlimited voice calling across India. Vodafone Idea (Vi) could also adopt the same. While telecom companies will only offer unlimited voice calls, which is good for customers, they will make more money because customers will no longer have prepaid plans under Rs 150 with voice calling benefits.
So this means that all the customers will have to spend a lot of money who were on the 99 rupees plans of Airtel and Vi. ICICI Securities stated that the minimum recharge plan has become 57% more affordable for Airtel customers in Haryana and Odisha circuits. This will definitely help the carriers to increase their average revenue per user (ARPU). But will the future of prepaid plans be price-sensitive Indian consumers? Well, left with no other choice, consumers will have to follow these plans whether they like it or not.