Telcos to offer better plans to counter Jio: Bharti Airtel

Barcelona, Feb 28 (IANS) Alarmed by the disruptive data plans that Reliance Jio is offering, India’s largest telecom service provider Bharti Airtel on Tuesday said the industry will soon come up with more aggressive data plans.

“Tariffs that they (Jio) have announced are still very aggressive. You have to throw in more data. All those things need to be done,” Bharti Airtel Chairman Sunil Mittal told reporters here.

Bharti Airtel on Monday announced changes in its domestic and international roaming plans after Reliance Jio offered free voice calls on its domestic network with no local or roaming charges.

The company, which has inked a definitive agreement to acquire Telenor India, earlier said it will waive off roaming charges on all domestic incoming calls from April 1.

“At Airtel, we are changing the international roaming paradigm, which will allow our customers to take their number to every corner of the world,” Mittal said in a statement.

“As an industry, operators across the world must collaborate to remove the cost barrier to roaming and offer customers the convenience of staying connected without the fear of exorbitant bill charges,” Mittal added.

The telecom major said it had already launched innovative and affordable international roaming packs for all major countries, which come with convenient validity options of one day, 10 days and 30 days.

“Starting April 1, even customers on international roaming without a pack will be fully protected from bill shocks through an automatic adjustment that is equal to the daily pack for that particular country.”

According to the telecom major, it has entered into a definitive agreement with Telenor South Asia Investments to acquire Telenor (India) Communications Private Limited. The acquisition is subject to requisite regulatory approvals.

However, the company did not divulge the cost of the acquisition.

The agreement entails that Airtel will acquire Telenor India’s running operations in seven circles of Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh (East), Uttar Pradesh (West) and Assam, Bharti Airtel added.

“The proposed acquisition will include transfer of all of Telenor India’s assets and customers, further augmenting Airtel’s overall customer base and network,” the telecom giant said in a statement.

Airtel said that it will ensure quality services to Telenor India’s customers, while offering them the added benefits of its innovative product portfolio, access to superior voice and data services, mobile banking, VAS (value added services) and domestic/international roaming facilities.

Telenor India’s operations and services would continue as normal until the completion of the transaction.

Earlier, while delivering a keynote address at the Mobile World Congress here, Mittal said: “Governments have got it wrong for too long. Regulators have always felt giving out new licences means more money for the government and more competition for the customers. It’s quite the contrary.”