Jio ruins the fun by asking its customers for money

Jio has announced it will start to charge customers from April 1, but its tariff plans will test the patience and resolve of its competitors.

India’s traditional telcos would have been waiting for the day Jio’s disruptive offer would come to an end, but the new tariff plans may have them shifting uneasily in their seats. The new plans still include free calls and SMS and unlimited data at night as well as various data usage plans for the rest of the time.

Although the move towards a more traditional telco set up will be welcomed by competitors, Jio has made its move to continue disruption by guaranteeing to match the price of competitors, but offering a 20% boost on the data allowance.

“This is our promise of everyday more value to Jio customers,” said Reliance Jio Chairman Mukesh Ambani. “You no longer have to worry if you are getting the best value with Jio. In addition to these plans, we will of course have Jio’s own tariff plans, which we believe are by far the best in the Industry.”

Jio’s plan to date has been to play on the cash-conscious consumer through the offer of free services, and it looks like the strategy will continue. The offer isn’t as good as what has been previously offered, but, in theory, it is the best available in the Indian market. It seems Ambani’s attitude is if it isn’t broken, don’t fix it.

It is certainly a plan which seems to be working. Ambani claims to now have collected 100 million customers over the 170 days since its launch. Ambani also believes Jio has more than double the number of 4G base stations than the rest of the Indian operators combined. The team also have the ambition of doubling its data capacity by the end of the year, creating a network which reaches 99% of the Indian population.

Although these are certainly bold ambitions for the challenger brand, Jio is a company which could certainly make it happen. 170 days ago, if I had told you Reliance Jio would have 100 million customers on its network, while also make the rest of the industry scramble to hold onto customers, how many of you would have believed it?

Many people might have assumed the Jio brand would be passing curiosity for Indian customers. They would try out the new offer, but then revert back to one of the more traditional vendors; that doesn’t seem to be the case. Looks like Jio is going to be around for a while.

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