Reliance Communications, which came under intense scrutiny and a barrage of criticism from consumers for jacking up data prices for 4G upgrade users, has unveiled a plan that may assuage some of their ruffled feathers.
It is offering 2.5 GB of data, half of which must be consumed at night, for a recharge of Rs 235 with validity of one month.
This is lower than the Rs 250-300 that it charges for 1 GB from customers who upgraded to its 4G service recently.
Reliance did not specify whether this new offer is valid only for its 2G-3G customers or whether it is valid for 4G customers as well. We expect that the new offer — called Movienet — will be available for all customers including 4G users.
Along with the data pack, RCom is also offering free access to content from Hungama, one of India’s biggest online multimedia companies.
It is not clear whether the Hungama offer is valid only when the subscriber is using RCom data or whether the Hungama offer can be availed even when using data from Wifi networks.
Some telecom operators — such as Vodafone — have been offering such ‘unlimited download’ facilities, with the condition that the download has to take place on Vodafone’s data network.
This condition is in place so that the operator can make money in the form of data charges even as the user enjoys his unlimited movies and music.
In case of RCom’s offer, it is not clear whether this restriction applies or not.
The company said the idea was to encourage users to consume more multimedia content.
“A study conducted by RCOM showed that while movies and music are key drivers to content consumption, customers do hesitate to consume premium licensed video content, given the high subscription fees,” it said.
RCom has specified that the data is suitable for ‘any use’ and not just for consuming Hungama Content. Under India’s net neutrality laws, no operator can provide data that can be used only for one service, app or website.
Under the plan, users get unlimited access to a library of 8,000 movies, over 50,000 music videos and 3.5 million sound tracks valid for 28 days.
“As soon as a customer recharges with the MoviNet Plan from, he/she receives a web-link through SMS to avail the entertainment content. Customers can also avail of any number of recharges on the MoviNet Plan. MRP and data benefits of the plan vary circle by circle.
“The MoviNet Plan is also available to post-paid users at a very attractive monthly rental of Rs 450, in which customers get subscription-free access to an ‘Entertainment-on-Demand’ library, along with 3GB of hi-speed data and 1,000 minutes of local and STD calls,” it said.
Some of the movies provided by Hungama are Fan, San Andreas, Mad Max: Fury Road, as also the upcoming world digital premiere of Batman vs Superman.
RCom has come under criticism from users for sending at least some of its post-paid data dongle users letters informing them that their plans are being changed.