Reliance Jio and Vodafone Idea are strategically not offering outgoing SMS benefits on their cheaper plans. Even though both the companies have a different outlook on the market, their recent move has to do with one thing - retaining subscribers. One of the biggest issues for the telcos is not to add subscribers but to keep them. When users don’t get the kind of telecom service they are looking for, they want to port their number to the services of the other operator who provides excellent services in the area.
But to port, they need to send an SMS typing ‘PORT’ to 1900. But they can’t do that if they don’t have the SMS benefits, can they?
Reliance Jio, Vodafone Idea Strategically Hindering Customers From Porting Out
Both Reliance Jio and Vodafone Idea are not offering SMS benefits from their cheaper plans. For the unaware, Jio recently brought back its Rs 98 plan. With the plan, users get 1.5GB daily data for 14 days along with unlimited voice calling and Jio apps subscription. However, there is no outgoing SMS benefit included with the plan.
Now, Vodafone Idea has introduced two new plans for Rs 99 and Rs 109. Both the plans offer users 1GB of total data along with unlimited voice calling for 18 and 20 days, respectively. Even both these plans don’t come with any SMS benefits. Vodafone Idea further doesn’t offer any separate ‘outgoing SMS only’ benefits plan, which the users can add on top of the Rs 99 or Rs 109 plan.
This will help both the telecom operators in retaining low average revenue per user (ARPU) customers since they won’t be able to send an SMS for port out.
Jio and Vi Push Customers to Buy Expensive Plans
Further, these plans will push people who want to port out of their current telecom service provider’s (TSP’s) services’ to purchase expensive plans. But it wouldn’t result in recurring revenues for the telcos since if the customer wants to port out, he/she will do that anyway by purchasing a prepaid plan that offers SMS benefits.
Even though Vi and Jio might have to keep more of the low ARPU customers, their subscriber churn rate will be at check. Further, there will be many customers in the low-income class who wouldn’t think twice before recharging with these cheaper plans without SMS benefits again and again.
This is a strategic move from the telcos. I wouldn’t call it a bad or an unfair move, but only wise on the part of the telecom operators; since, at the end of the day, it is a business for them. Any business operates from the sole purpose of providing services and earning profits, and Jio and Vi aren’t any different.
What would have been bad or unfair was to remove SMS benefits from top plans as well. But these are entry-level and cheap plans. Customers who want to port out can still do so by purchasing a little more expensive prepaid plan and get the SMS benefits.
Bharti Airtel Offers One Unlimited Plan With No SMS Benefit
Bharti Airtel only offers one prepaid plan under Rs 100, and it is the Rs 19 plan. Apart from that, the cheapest unlimited plan that the telco has to offer comes for Rs 129. The Rs 19 plan from Airtel offers unlimited voice calling and 200MB data benefit for 2 days. This plan also doesn’t come with any SMS benefits. So even Airtel customers who want to port out of the telco’s services will at least have to purchase the Rs 129 prepaid plan.