The top three telcos- Reliance Jio, Vodafone Idea and Bharti Airtel successfully hiked the prepaid tariff prices to bring some stability to the telecom sector. Airtel and Vodafone Idea customers got a big relief when the telcos announced the removal of FUP limit on off-net voice calls as Reliance Jio is still charging six paise per minute for outgoing calls to other networks post the allotted FUP limit. Despite the tariff hike, Airtel and Vodafone Idea did not remove the policy of minimum recharges. For the unaware, subscribers of Airtel and Vodafone Idea will have to perform a mandatory recharge every month to keep their prepaid account active. After the revision, the mandatory recharge comes down to Rs 23 (Rs 24 in the case of Vodafone Idea) because telcos relaunched the entry-level talk time plans of Rs 20, Rs 30 and so on.
Minimum Recharge Policy Still Applicable on Airtel, Vodafone Idea Networks
It was back in October 2018 when both the country’s top two telcos decided to introduce the minimum recharge policy. As part of this, Airtel and Vodafone Idea customers will have to perform a mandatory recharge every month otherwise incoming calls will be barred after seven days of recharge expiry. For example, you’re on an unlimited plan of Rs 249 on Vodafone Idea network, and your current plan expired today, then you will not receive any incoming calls after seven days. Outgoing calls will be stopped right away even if you have talk time balance left in the prepaid account.
After the revision, both Airtel and Vodafone Idea are offering just three minimum recharge plans of Rs 23 (Rs 24 on Vodafone Idea), Rs 49 and Rs 79 plans. The Rs 23 Smart Recharge on Airtel network or the Rs 24 All Rounder on Vodafone Idea network is the new go-to option for the prepaid users to keep their account active. This plan does not ship with any data or talk time or SMS benefits, instead, it just extends the service validity of a prepaid account. The Rs 23 recharge from Airtel is valid for 28 days, whereas Vodafone Idea’s Rs 24 plan is valid for just 14 days, so you’ll have to perform the same recharge twice per month (28 days).
As for the voice calls, users will be charged at 2.5 paise per second for any local/STD call. For Airtel users, it makes complete sense to perform the recharge of Rs 23 Smart Recharge, but for Vodafone Idea, they can choose the Rs 49 All Rounder pack instead of recharging the Rs 24 pack twice.
Telcos Bring Back Affordable Talk Time Plans for Prepaid Users
After the latest revision, tariff plans cost at least 25% more than the old prices. So telcos are providing some relief to the subscribers as well. Airtel and Vodafone Idea brought back the affordable talk time plans of Rs 20, Rs 30 and Rs 50 to the prepaid customers, so that they can recharge the base minimum recharge plan along with a talk time plan to make voice calls.
Having said that, none of the talk time plans ship with full talk time benefit which will disappoint a lot of prepaid users out there. Right now, Airtel is offering talk time plans like Rs 10, Rs 20, Rs 100, Rs 500 and Rs 1,000, whereas Vodafone Idea is providing Rs 10, Rs 20, Rs 30, Rs 50, Rs 100 and so on.
The Rs 49 minimum recharge plan from telcos ship with 100MB data, service validity extension, Rs 38.52 talk time for a period of 28 days. The Rs 79 pack offers 200MB data, Rs 64 talk time and service validity extension for 28 days.