The advent of smartphones and the growing dependency on the internet has stirred the telecom market greatly, and there is cut throat competition in terms of speed and prices. Statistics reveal that India currently stands at the second position in terms of the size of the telecommunication market whereas the number of internet users is the third highest in the world. While each operator is bent upon proving their worth and affordability, the subscribers are either confused about the ideal plan or are shuffling providers. The introduction of data specific plans is also encouraging the use of 2 sim cards, one for data and other for calling. The expansion of the telecom subscriber base to more than 1000 million indicates the quantum of the telecom market. The consumer base is huge, and each one of them is looking for steal deals to minimize their expenditure and access uninterrupted services. The huge demand for data services is being met by the plethora of plans available in the market and those being released each day, hence making the market more competitive. The choice of the consumer, however, is affected by two major factors, cost, and speed of the internet. In an era where one wants movies and applications to be a click away, speed plays a significant role in influencing buying decisions.
There are several plans available on the shelves offered by various telecom providers like Airtel, Vodafone, Idea, Reliance, Tata, etc. each of them is backed by rigorous marketing and advertisement efforts to ensure sales. Most of them have transitioned from 3g to 4g and hence offering better connectivity and faster access. 4g promises five times the speed of 3g. A deeper look into some of the 4G plans available in India reveals the following data:
Airtel: Airtel is one of the pioneers in the introduction of 4G internet in India and is offering a decent download speed of 25mbps and decent strength of the signal. Its plans were priced differently for different cities. For instance, a data pack inclusive of 10Gb 4G data costed Rs 1347 in Kerala but Rs 1998 in Amritsar. They have now introduced a recharge plan that costs Rs 345 and allows a usage of 1GB per day and all outgoing calls can be made for free. This, however, comes with certain conditions like 500Mb data usage for the day and 500MB for the night. They have also introduced certain surprise packs.
Vodafone: The world’s largest network of 4G services is also trying to establish its 4G services network in India. Their offerings vary from as cheap as Rs 29 for 120 Mb for three days to 20 GB for Rs 2499. They have also introduced a 28-day plan priced at Rs 346 and offers 1 GB data per day; postpaid users are also given 24 Gb data for three months period as a part of Vodafone Delights
Idea: While Idea was offering 4G data at prices lower than Airtel and Vodafone already, it has also introduced a plan for Rs 348 wherein they offer 1GB free data and free voice calling. Other plans of a lower value like Rs. 148 are also available.
Reliance JIO: The thunder that JIO created in the market with its free calling and data plans can still be heard. JIO services are still available for a subscription fee of Rs 99 as a part of their ‘happy new year‘ offer, and users can also access all JIO media services at 303 a month, still the lowest amongst the lot. News also confirms that upon a recharge of Rs 303, three months of free usage may be provided to subscribers as a part of prime membership. Well JIO surely knows how to do it, and this has earned them a 72 million subscriber base already. While they are going ahead with their endeavor to set up new towers each day, their international roaming facility is also functional now. Now that is a shoulder to shoulder for other established providers.
Airtel’s delusory advertisements, vindicated Jio
While JIO is already beating the other players based on pricing, one goes on to consider the factor of the speed of data. Based on the reports by a US based broadband speed testing company, Ookla, Airtel had been rated as the fastest 4G network; the recent report by TRAI is, however, indicating otherwise. It indicates that the average download speed that JIO’s 4G network offers was 16.48Mbps in February and that was the highest amongst all service providers. The report has also revealed that not only has Airtel lost the speed challenge to JIO but it stands at the 3rd spot wherein Idea’s 4G services assume the second position with an average download speed of 12.09 Mbps that is greater than 10.43 Mbps by Airtel.
Competitive pricing and download speed have indicated JIO as a viable choice for users but the itch to understand Airtel’s claims of being the fastest 4G network still persists. It was tested on a double sim phone that one uses the second sim slot for a sim to use data and the first sim slot for a sim forvoice calling, the speed test by ookla attributes the speed to the 1st sim. Well, I tested that myself and found this to be true. This simple flaw has been contributive enough in flawing the entire data that lead to the conclusion that Airtel offers the fastest service. While we are satisfied with Airtel’s coverage and decent browsing speeds, the claim of being the fastest stands false, and this has been indicated by TRAI’s report.
JIO has definitely taken the telecom market in India by a storm with its bouquet of services and download speeds. The choice still rests with the consumers but has definitely been affected and is visible if one looks at the growing consumer base of Reliance.
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