Last year, the telecom operators pursued a different path when they wanted to focus their efforts on amping up the average revenue per user (ARPU) of the company. We saw both Vodafone Idea and Bharti Airtel do away with talk time recharges and then introduce minimum recharge plans that would keep the customers afloat and their service running. Previously, however, Bharti Airtel was offering a buffer of 15 days to its subscribers till when the services of the telco were live and the subscribers could use them, but now Bharti Airtel is forcing its subscribers to recharge their number in mere seven days. It is worth noting that Bharti Airtel ships the Rs 23 rate cutter plan, the Rs 35 minimum recharge plan and more in its portfolio.
Airtel Forces its Prepaid Customers to Recharge Every Seven Days
Back in October 2018, Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea scrapped all the popular talk time recharges and also introduced a new scheme called 'Minimum Recharge.' Here's how the minium recharge scheme works on both Airtel and Vodafone Idea networks: a prepaid customer will have to perform a recharge of Rs 35 every month to make voice calls and also to receive incoming calls. If the customer fails to recharge, the outgoing will be immediately barred after the plan expiry, while incoming voice calling used to get disconnected after 15 days. With this new change, Airtel prepaid customers will not be able to receive any incoming calls right after seven days of plan expiry.
Basically, Airtel is forcing its prepaid users to recharge every month so that the ARPU remains stable. This move from both Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea was to tackle the current market scenario where Jio is gaining subscribers on a larger note alongside keeping the profits stable.
However, both Airtel and Vodafone Idea have a large of inactive subscribers which do not generate any revenue for the company. Airtel made its intentions clear that it just wants to focus on the customers who generate revenue for the company. And the results are evident and in front of us. Bharti Airtel' subscriber base fell down drastically, but on the positive side, the ARPU of the company continues to rise.
BSNL Also Reduced Validity of Several Prepaid Plans
In other news, BSNL also reduced the validity of several prepaid plans. The Rs 75 validity extension plan from BSNL now offers just validity of 90 days, down from the earlier 180 days, meaning a BSNL prepaid subscriber is paying Rs 25 every month for just maintaining the validity of the account. Earlier, the scenario was different. Assume this case, if a customer recharges with the Rs 99 voice calling plan in a circle, but if there's no active validity plan in that account, then the customer will not be able to make any voice calls. Several other BSNL plans received validity reduction in the last few weeks.
However, unlike the other private telecom operators, Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea, BSNL is one telco which has still kept its talk time plans in the portfolio. BSNL has become the example of that telco which is shipping combo plans with unlimited data and calling and it still has some talk time plans for its legacy customers. In fact, the telecom operator is offering extra and full talk time offer on some of its recharges. So, the subscribers who would rather depend on calls and are not likely to use a lot of internet, then BSNL could be one telco to fall back on, as you would not be forced to recharge every few days.
Minimum Recharge Plans from Bharti Airtel Detailed
Aforesaid, Bharti Airtel removed talk time plans last year and introduced new prepaid plans called 'Smart Recharges.' These Smart Recharge plans from Airtel start at Rs 23 and go all the way up to Rs 245. The Rs 23 pack just extends your account validity by 28 days without providing any talk time benefit. So if you're recharging with the Rs 23 Smart Recharge, you'll have to separately recharge talk time plan of Rs 10 or Rs 100 or Rs 500 or Rs 1,000. The Rs 35 Smart Recharge bundles Rs 26.66 talk time and 100MB of data benefit, followed by the Rs 65 pack that ships with 200MB of data and Rs 55 talk time. The Rs 95 Smart Recharge offers a user 500MB of data and full talk time of Rs 95. The Rs 35, Rs 65 and 95 plans come with 28 days validity.
Moving onto the plans which offer better validity, we have the Rs 145 Smart Recharge providing 1GB of data, Rs 145 talk time for 42 days, followed by the Rs 245 plan with 2GB data benefit, Rs 245 talk time and 84 days validity.