Is Jio for me?

Jio! This seems to be the big name in the telecom industry right now. Believe it or not, that name has sent shivers down the spines of the major telecom industry on 5th December 2016, the day Reliance launched its full services to the public. To add insult to the injury, the shares on Bharti Airtel dropped as much as Rs.18,000 crore just during the launch speech by Mukesh Ambani. Other telecos like Vodafone and Idea also suffered a great deal due to its launch. Jio gave people almost a hypothetical reality in terms of call and data services. As ironic as that might sound, free calls and data seemed to be the new reality in this surreal world, contrary to the fact that we live in a competitive market where the ‘so-called’ major telecos would increase their rates or reduce the days of a data pack in a way where it create be a blind spot for everyday users. Jio started off with an aim to reach 100 million users in the shortest time possible. As anyone would expect, the user base rose almost exponentially causing the service to change its data plan from unlimited data to 4 GB per day before finally coming down to 1GB per day. With this kind of growth, other telecos could do nothing but watch the show from the bottom of the ladder. As with any great business, the rivalry came in the form of some telecos like Airtel filing a complaint with the CCI (Competition Commission of India) about the service ‘creating a monopoly for itself’ and also said Jio’s ‘predatory free pricing strategy’ is to ‘injure competition’. Jio backfired asking the TRAI to ‘impose the highest penalty on Airtel’ accusing it of ‘misinterpreting the benefits’ of its free services.

While the juvenile nature of these businesses continue, let us look into what Jio recently has to offer. To get their little startup serious on the long run, Jio has recently announced a pricing scheme for its services, resulting in a huge rise in its stocks by almost 6% pricing it at Rs.1,170 a share. The main reason behind this is that a pricing scheme would always be motivated by a plan and a purpose. The new Jio ‘Prime Membership’ has a pricing of Rs.303 per month which would consist of unlimited calls and a data usage of 1GB per day. The users might think otherwise, considering that the ARPU (Average Revenue Per User) of Airtel is around Rs.200. Many analysts also suggest that beside the intention of retaining its existing users and the hope for adding many more, Jio might have taken a wrong strategy as competitors are now offering packs with free calls and data which are cheap but not free. For now, all that can be said and done is to wait and watch how the offers unfold. However, keeping a tab on our monthly expenditure on mobile bills give us a more clear idea about our expenditure for our calls and data.

Amidst all these hype and gimmicks of different telecos, the average user has only one question to ask, “Which one will be the most economical for me?” Let us answer that question considering three different scenarios:

One, you are someone who doesn’t call much, neither use data services, then probably Jio isn’t the answer for your needs and you can try other teleco services which credit your desired talk time and offer a limited pack data. If you don’t call much but uses good amount of data, then Jio would be your go to option as 30 GB per month pretty much satisfies any data hungry user. Finally, if you make a lot of calls and use data on a frequent basis, then undoubtedly Jio would surely be the lifeguard that comes to your rescue in this inflationary spiral of cost in the market.

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