In Wait & Watch Mode: Qual­ity Top Con­cern for Jio Con­sumers

An­a­lysts ex­pect only a 50% ero­sion in Jio’s sub­scriber base af­ter its free of­fer is with­drawn

The Economic Times - - Telecom: The Wide Spectrum -

Dev­ina Sen­gupta, Ni­harika Ban­er­jee, Tina Gur­naney & Kalyan Par­bat

Mum­bai | New Delhi | Kolkata: For the 100 mil­lion-plus con­sumers, lured by Reliance Jio’s dis­rup­tive Wel­come and Happy New Year free of­fers in six months, the party has fi­nally ended. Start­ing April, they will have to choose to stay or leave the Jio net­work, which has lined up easy and at­trac­tive en­try points.

Sub­scribers choos­ing Jio Prime will pay a one-time fee of .₹ 99 and .₹ 303 a month for ser­vices which were com­pletely free. A cross sec­tion of phone users ET spoke to sug­gested many would like to wait and see the qual­ity and speed of data be­fore switch­ing al­liance.

Shovon Das­gupta, a re­tired gen­eral man­ager at a PSU in Kolkata said he will join Jio Prime but will be on the look­out for any lapse in its ser­vices. Das­gupta makes his calls from Voda­fone and used his Jio sim for surf­ing data.

“I will go for Jio Prime since its price point is bet­ter than com­peti­tors and do not mind pay­ing the charges, but if the qual­ity de­te­ri­o­rates, then I go back to Voda­fone,” said the 69 year old. Mukesh Am­bani, chair­man of Reliance In­dus­tries, on Tues­day said Jio will start charg­ing sub­scribers from April 1, but with sharp dis­counts for a year for its ex­ist­ing users and those who sub­scribe by the end of March.

“I would love to con­tinue with Jio at the price points men­tioned for Jio Prime, pro­vided the ser­vice im­proves be­fore March 31. If it sta- Jio’s cur­rent users and those who come on board be­tween March 1 and March 31 will con­tinue to get 1 GB of data a day plus all of Jio’s apps for a month and a one-time charge of

of­fers un­lim­ited call­ing and of or of data for ys like it is right now, I’d rather pay a few hun­dred ru­pees more for a re­li­able net­work,” said Shivam Lakhan­pal, a 27-year-old so­cial me­dia mar­keter from Gur­gaon.

From April 1 till March 31, 2018, Jio’s cur­rent users and those who come on board be­tween March 1 and March 31 will con­tinue to get 1 GB of data a day plus all of Jio’s apps for .₹ 303 a month and a one-time charge of .₹ 99.

Mar­ket leader Bharti Air­tel of­fers un­lim­ited call­ing plus 1 GB of 4G data for .₹ 345 for 28 days and 30 GB of data for 90 days for .₹ 1,495. For .₹ 349, No. 2 telco Voda­fone of­fers un­lim­ited call­ing and 50 MB of 3G or1GB of 4G data for 28 days.

“As a heavy data user, I’m par­tic­u­larly ex­cited about Jio Prime, which looks like real value for money. What’s even more as­sur­ing is that ‘Prime’ is a pre­paid of­fer, which would ide­ally help a user con­trol data con­sump­tion more ef­fec­tively, also re­duc­ing the risk of in­flated bills that, typ­i­cally, hap­pen in a post­paid sce­nario,” said Shan­tan­abha Das, a 32-year old pro­fes­sor in a gov­ern­ment col­lege in West Bengal.

Das is open to “switch­ing full time to Jio” if the net­work cov­er­age sta­bilises in com­ing months, though he said Air­tel, Voda­fone and Idea would be com­pelled to match Jio’s rates to re­tain cus­tomers.

“If Voda­fone matches Jio’s Prime rates in the near fu­ture, leav­ing them will be a tough choice for me as their voice qual­ity is def­i­nitely su­pe­rior at present,” he said.

Con­sumer stick­i­ness changes when free of­fers are with­drawn and an­a­lysts ex­pect a 50% ero­sion of Jio’s user base.

“There will be com­modi­ti­sa­tion of the brand now. In­dia is not a data savvy coun­try yet and giv­ing ex­tra data will not work,” said brand con­sul­tant Har­ish Bi­joor. Con­sumer be­comes price con­scious if he is us­ing data for per­sonal rea­sons like en­ter­tain­ment and is not paid by his of­fice for pro­fes­sional cause, Bi­joor adds.

“Some will change from Jio since the ‘free’ con­cept plays an in­te­gral role in con­sumers across the world. The mo­ment you have to pay for it, you will feel the pres­sure to note the of­fers by in­cum­bents,” noted San­tosh De­sai MD of Fu­ture­brands In­dia.

“I used Jio be­cause ser­vices were avail­able for free. But I would choose an op­er­a­tor that keeps me con­nected even when I go to re­mote vil­lages and of­fers just suf­fi­cient data,” said Tu­lika Mazum­dar, a 28year old en­gi­neer based in Delhi. Low in­come group with data us­age lesser than Jio’s 1GB limit a day will still be at­trac­tive. So, when Am­bani said he will match any com­pet­i­tive of­fer and give 20% more data, it may not im­pact them.

“I don’t use In­ter­net much, so I will not want to pay .₹ 303 just for un­lim­ited voice call­ing,” said Su­man Dubey, a 31-year old home maker from Mum­bai.

But for Dibyendu Sinha, 35-yearold soft­ware en­gi­neer in Kolkata, Jio Prime and the 20% ad­di­tional data makes sense. Sinha uses at least 700 MB data a day and for him the con­tin­u­a­tion of the free­bies is worth it.

From April 1 till March 31, 2018, For 349, Voda 50%

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