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Jio 4G annual Rs 1699 pre-paid plan can save Rs 3000 for many, but loyalty will save Airtel or Vodafone

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Jio 4G annual Rs 1699 pre-paid plan can save Rs 3000 for many, but loyalty will save Airtel or Vodafone

Neither Airtel nor Vodafone offer yearly plans to their prepaid users

When it comes to the Indian telecom sector, Reliance Jio has been a trendsetter. It completely changed the game in the country with its lucrative data plans and efficient JioPhone feature phones. And now the company is back with another data plan that is bound to create ripples. The Rs 1,699 plan, announced as part of Jio Diwali Dhamaka offer on October 18, will give users 1.5GB data and 100 free SMSs per day and unlimited voice calls for a year. In addition to this, the plans also offers access to Jio Premium apps which includes JioTV, JioCinema, JioMusic, and JioMags among others.

Simply put, with its latest prepaid plan, Reliance Jio is offering 547.5GB 4G data for a year at a modest price of Rs 1,699. And then there are unlimited free calls. This plan, by far, is the most competitive plan in the market right now.

For comparison, BSNL's Rs 999 yearly plan offers 1GB per day along with 100 free SMSs per day along with free voice call for 181 day. This sums up to 365GB data a year with free voice calls restricted to six months. Both Airtel and Vodafone on the contrary offer a monthly plan of Rs 199 (in the Delhi NCR circle) which offers 1.GB data per day along with 100 free SMS a day and unlimited voice calls. When calculated for a year, this plan offers 509.6GB data for Rs 2,58-- a figure that is Rs 888 more than Jio's latest offering.

Talking about the postpaid plans, Vodafone as a part of its Vodafone RED postpaid plan offers 40GB data per month with rollover benefits along with unlimited voice calls, unlimited national roaming along with benefits such as Amazon Prime and Vodafone Play, all for Rs 399. All of this totals to 480GB data per year for Rs 4,788. By contrast, Airtel offers 240GB data per year for Rs 4,799. This number is Rs 3,100 more than Jio's newly announced plan.

Jio has been breaking rules and forcing the competition the walk the path it forged ever since it made its foray into the Indian telecom market. And its Rs 1,699 yearly plan is just another example of what it does the best- pushing its own boundaries (and that of others) to offer the very best to its customers. The obvious (and intelligent) thing to now would be to ditch your current service provider and your plan and hop on Jio's pretty wagon. But many will not. I will not. And I have reasons. And the reason is loyalty.

I've been using Airtel's postpaid services for a long time now. While I might have prescribed to its postpaid services a couple of years back, I have been on Airtel's network ever since I got a phone of my own. Suffice to say, I'm an Airtel loyalist. There have been times when Airtel's network shocked me with its persistent network connectivity issues (in fact, it still does sometimes), but I stayed on, never flinching from my resolve to make a change. Reason? Comfort in familiarity, which is particular a factor for the postpaid subscribers.

As humans, we are creatures of our habits and it's often difficult for us to jostle ourselves out of our comfort zones. This is particularly true for postpaid users, who in the yesteryears bargained a higher tariff for better services. Companies valued their postpaid customers for their loyalty and they were often given "preferential" treatment compared with the prepaid users, who could easily hop on another service one SIM at a time.

Unlike prepaid consumers, most postpaid users are loyal to their operators. This loyalty comes from familiarity -- they have been on a network for years -- as well as from association with the brand. And it is the postpaid subscribers that care about yearly plans. The prepaid users just concern themselves with weekly and monthly packs.

The postpaid consumers do complain occasionally, even slam their telecom providers, but they also stick with them. This is the reason why Jio's postpaid plans, which are most aggressive and cheapest in the industry, did not bring in the kind of subscribers that came for pre-paid plans. The postpaid plans from Jio also created less buzz, and it is due to the postpaid subscribers that Airtel and Vodafone have been able to weather the Jio storm in a better way.

It is this loyalty, stickiness to the brand, due to which postpaid users of Airtel and Vodafone often pay Rs 100 or Rs 200 more for their connection instead of simply hopping on to Jio plans.

And I believe the same factor may help Airtel and Vodafone again as Jio rolls out the Rs 1699 Diwali Dhamaka Offer. Though it will help Airtel and Vodafone, if they also simplify their annual billion cycle and offer something that matches Jio, or is close to it. Airtel, for example, already has annual plans for its broadband service that are very competitive. May be something similar can be brought in to counter the Jio Rs 1699 plan.

But even if such a plan doesn't come in, chances are that Jio is not going to see a sudden influx of high-value consumers coming to it from Airtel and Vodafone. Apart from loyalty, there are also features like data rollover and free membership to streaming services like Amazon Prime and Netflix, which too keep postpaid subscribers within their existing networks. Admittedly, companies now-a-days offer plans that never run out of mobile data, but just for the sake of an argument, rollover is a great feature to have, or at least it was till companies started coupling more mobile data with other services such as free SMSs and free voice calls.

ALSO READ: Reliance Jio announces Jio Diwali Cashback Offer, new Rs 1,699 annual plan

Coming back to Jio, its yearly Rs 1,699 plan-- with 45GB data (1.5GB data per day) and free SMSs and unlimited voice calls per month -- is a great buy. But there is a reason why companies invest in their postpaid users. They know their prepaid users might come and go but postpaid users are likely to stay forever.