Reliance Jio, the world’s biggest 4G operator by data volume, took a step closer to the starting of commercial services today by slashing the free data allowance on its connections to 1 GB per day from 4 GB.
From January 1, all subscribers of Reliance Jio — old and new — will be able to use only 1 GB of free data per day, down from 4 GB at present.
And it could take a second step soon by introducing top-up coupons for those who are frustrated by the low FUP limit.
Top-up coupons are already in use by companies like BSNL and Airtel, and helps the user to consume more data than is permitted by his plan.
These typically costs between 50-100 per GB.
It is likely to Jio could start getting its consumers used to the idea of paying for services by introducing these coupons.
“The biggest challenge for them is to ensure that there is no sudden drop-off in the number of subscribers when they switch from free to paid overnight,” pointed out a telecom industry veteran.
“As such, a gradual approach using top-up coupons would be the best way for the company to move forward.”
Charges for these coupons can be kept at low levels of between Rs 30-50 per GB, which would encourage consumption.
However, pointed out industry sources, the company has to worry about network congestion.
“They may have to put a limit on how much a single user is allowed to consume during the ongoing trial period, as customer experience is of paramount concern compared to earning money in the initial days.”
Industry sources, therefore, expect the company to put a cap in terms of the top-ups as well.
“For example, they could price the maximum top-up at Rs 100 for 4 GB and say that you can only use one top-up in a day.”
Another way in which people could try to get more data Reliance Jio would be to try to acquire more SIMs in the coming days.
However, since the company offers only one SIM against one IMEI number, customers will have to buy more than one 4G handset to get multiple SIMs.