If there is one telecom operator in the Indian telecom space whose competition is totally justified with Reliance Jio, it is Bharti Airtel. Although the Sunil Bharti Mittal led telco also had to face some rough time when Reliance Jio made its foray into the Indian market back in 2016, the telecom operator is now clawing its way back to strength and is in fact in a very strong position to put up a solid fight with the Mukesh Ambani led telco on all fronts. Whether, it is prepaid, postpaid, broadband or even DTH, Airtel has prepared a portfolio which Reliance Jio will be challenging sharply with the launch of GigaFiber a few days from now. But, the question is, how has Airtel managed to strengthen its position in the industry. We believe these are the five factors which have worked in the telco’s favour.
Robust Ongoing LTE 900 Rollout
One of the significant advantages which Reliance Jio has over other telecom operators is the presence of an all-4G network which caters to high-speed internet in almost all of India. This combined with a massive coverage across the country, has impressed the Reliance Jio subscribers. However, Airtel is not far behind as the telco has started wrapping up its 3G services in a lot of circles and is rolling out LTE 900 technology based on the 900 MHz spectrum. Recently, Airtel has rolled out LTE 900 in Assam, Kolkata, and Delhi NCR to name a few. And, with this ongoing network exercise, the telco is bound to create a 4G network that gives Reliance Jio a tough competition.
Attractive Broadband Plans
In the upcoming days, Reliance Jio is going to launch its GigaFiber FTTH services, and that is all everyone is talking about. To amass subscriber even before Reliance Jio makes its foray into the segment, Airtel V-Fiber, which is the fibre branch of Airtel broadband is offering attractive plans to its subscribers, which offer speeds of up to 100 Mbps or even 300 Mbps. Some of these plans also come with unlimited data. What’s more, the plans also bundle Airtel Thanks benefit comprising of free Netflix subscription for three months, free Amazon Prime membership for a year, Airtel TV Premium subscription and ZEE5 subscription as well which becomes the edge of these broadband plans.
OTT and Content Offerings
When Reliance Jio came into the market, one of the major attractions of the telco was the massive content portfolio to which it was offering access. While Reliance Jio has apps like JioSaavn, Jio TV, JioCinema, and more, Airtel has also expanded its portfolio by offering competitive services. These apps include Airtel Wynk Music, Airtel TV for Live TV and on-demand content and more. Just like Reliance Jio offers these apps with its prepaid plans, Airtel does the same. So, this is one area where Airtel has matched Reliance Jio and in some ways even surpassed it.
Only Telco to Offer DTH, Broadband, Postpaid Combo
While Reliance Jio is planning to create an ecosystem of its own where subscribers are using all Reliance Jio services like Jio’s landline, GigaTV, GigaFiber and Jio SIMs, Airtel has already done the same. Airtel subscribers who have an Airtel Digital TV, Airtel broadband and postpaid connection can link their subscriptions and create Airtel Home on which they can avail 10% discount on their total bill. This is something that will make the Airtel subscribers lean more towards Airtel services. A move which Reliance Jio is seeking to make with the launch of its broadband, DTH and home services.
Prepaid and Postpaid Plan
Not only the above points, but the prepaid plans of Bharti Airtel have grown attractive enough in the market that they are seeing massive demand. The reason is that the telco is shipping things like unlimited calling, daily data limits and with all this, it is also offering things like free subscription and access to content apps. There are also long-term plans by Airtel which compete with Reliance Jio’s long-term offerings.
On the postpaid front, there is a clear winner amongst Bharti Airtel and Reliance Jio. While the latter offers a single Rs 199 postpaid plan, Airtel’s postpaid plan offerings start from Rs 499 and they offer a lot of benefits making them superior to Reliance Jio’s and a lot of other telecom operators as well.