WIONNew Delhi, Delhi, IndiaFeb 21, 2017, 09.43 AM
Reliance Industries' Jio telecoms unit will start charging customers from April 1, but will offer sharply discounted prices for a year to those who sign up by the end of March, Chairman Mukesh Ambani said on Tuesday.
Customers who sign up by March 31 will be able to use unlimited data and voice services for a year at 303 rupees ($4.52) a month under a special offer, Ambani said. Enrollment to the plan would cost a one-time fee of 99 rupees.
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In a speech broadcast live on Reliance Industries' social media accounts, Ambani - India's richest man - said the Jio unit has added more than 100 million customers since launching its services last year. The network is expected to cover most of the country's population by end of 2017.
Jio users consumed more than 100 crore GB of data per month on the Jio network, which comes to 3.3 crore GB a day.
Reliance Jio Infocomm, launched in September 2016, has roiled India's telecoms market by offering free voice and cut-price data plans that are slated to run through March 2017, forcing rivals such as Bharti Airtel to respond with price cuts of their own.
While there have been concerns over whether Jio will be able to retain customers once it starts charging for services, with analysts pointing out that many use Jio as a second connection to take advantage of the free data, the firm said it expects to add subscribers by offering them more bang for their buck.
The price war resulting from Jio's entry has also spurred consolidation in the sector with Idea and Vodafone Plc's Indian unit, the market's No.2 player, beginning talks for a merger of their operations.