Currently, all the telecom operators in India except for Reliance Jio offer prepaid plans, which do not come with truly unlimited voice calling. But in the near future, that might change. At least for the consumers of the private telcos, there might be no more prepaid packs that bundle voice calling benefits with select minutes. The only plans which do not bundle unlimited voice calling in India currently cost anything under Rs 150. Mostly these are the plans which are minimum recharge options, such as the Rs 99 plan from Airtel.
But recently, according to ICICI Securities, Airtel has removed the Rs 99 plan from two of the circles - Haryana (B Circle) and Odisha (C Circle). In both these circles, the minimum recharge value or prepaid plan is of Rs 155. The Rs 155 plan comes with truly unlimited voice calling. Thus, there are no more prepaid plans which do not offer unlimited voice calling in these two circles right now.
Will the Same Happen with the Prepaid Plans of Airtel in Other Circles?
If the move is successful for Airtel, then the telco might implement it in other circles soon as well. This would mean that there would be no more prepaid plans on offer from Airtel that don't come with unlimited voice calling across India. The same could be adopted by Vodafone Idea (Vi) as well. While the telcos will only offer unlimited voice calling, which is a good thing for customers, they will be earning much more money as the customers will not have prepaid plans under Rs 150 anymore with voice calling benefits.
So this would mean that all customers would have to spend a lot more money who were on the Rs 99 plans of Airtel and Vi. ICICI Securities has said that the minimum recharge plan has become 57% more expensive for Airtel customers in the Haryana and Odisha circles. This would definitely help the telcos in driving up their average revenue per user (ARPU) figures. But would it be a future of prepaid plans that price-sensitive Indian consumers would like? Well, if the consumers are left with no other option, they will have to go with these plans whether they like it or not.