Many areas of India which come in the Green and Orange zones are relaxed from the strict lockdown rules. Thus small stores are opening up again. This is why telcos have decided that they are not going to extend the validity of their tariff plans anymore since people can step-out now and recharge any of the prepaid plans from a local store. Rajan Mathews, Director General of Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI), said to ET Telecom that the needs of both the rural and urban areas are been addressed after the activation of common service centres. COAI represents telcos such as Vodafone, Bharti Airtel, and Reliance Jio.
In addition to the activation of common service centres, there are also small Kirana stores, ATM’s, and other vendors who are available to help people recharge. Telecom operators feel like all of this is more than sufficient for people to get their SIM cards recharged. Therefore, telcos have decided not to extend the validity of tariff plans anymore. Vodafone Idea recently advised people living in the UP-West to recharge their prepaid plans with the help of more than 6,500 outlets available to them such as kiranas and medical stores if they can’t do it online.
Within a week when the Indian government implemented the lockdown, telcos had announced that they are going to extend the validity of their prepaid customers plans to April 14 which was later extended even further to May 3. Telcos such as Vodafone Idea and Bharti Airtel credited Rs 10 extra talktime into their prepaid customers account for free. At the same time, Reliance Jio gave its subscriber base 100 minutes of free talktime. As of now, telcos are working with the government for keeping all the recharge outlets and locations active so that people don’t face any difficulty in recharging their SIM cards.