Battle is on with Reliance Jio; Airtel to unleash aggressive 4G offers

Battle is on with Reliance Jio; Airtel to unleash aggressive 4G offers Tariff wars started in the telecom sector when Reliance Jio Infocomm launched free calls and dirt cheap data plans and since then there has been a tug of war happening between the top incumbent carriers. Now, to maintain its lead and win this fight, Bharti Airtel is going to unleash aggressive 4G bundled offers.

Despite being the leading operator, Bharti Airtel is struggling to revive its slowing data revenue growth and boost penetration amid rising competitive intensity.

"It's difficult to compete with a free services offer and we expect Jio's full-fledged price launch to happen sometime in December, but we too will come up with aggressive 4G bundled packs to take them on shortly," Gopal Vittal, MD Airtel, told ET.

As per reports, Reliance Jio’s free service offer had put an element of softness in Airtel’s data revenue growth, adding that he expected the new 4G rival to grab 40 million customers by December-end. Bharti Airtel's data realisation dipped 10% sequentially in the September quarter. Year-on-year data revenue growth of nearly 24% in the quarter was its slowest so far.

A 5% on year fall in net profit in September quarter was reported


Meawhile, Airtel also plans on approaching the TRAI to clear all the confusion regarding Point of Interconnections (PoIs). The company claims to have provided more PoIs than any other teleco.

Vittal said that that confusion at the Trai’s end over the issue of providing PoIs to Jio Infocomm.

"Airtel's PoI augmentation for Jio has been nothing short of staggering as the number of E1s (interconnect points) provided to the company within a mere five weeks is 2.5 times the levels offered to any other operator in India. Airtel, he said, would shortly go back to Trai and telecom department to clear up any confusion on the PoI issue, adding that the company is confident that they will take "an objective view" on the matter,” Vittal told ET.

Trai had recommended a combined penalty of Rs 3,050 crore on Bharti Airtel, Vodafone India and Idea Cellular as a fine for not providing enough PoIs to Jio Infocomm.

Trai, however, recently gave Jio a clean chit and said its tariff plans including free voice for life is permissible and compliant with rules.