Bharti Airtel, Reliance Communications and Vodafone are expected to announce cheaper data tariff plans for consumers over the next couple of months. This means email services and downloads of movies, YouTube and other videos, pictures and songs on mobile handsets will become cheaper.
Telecom operators like Bharti Airtel, RCom, Vodafone and Reliance Jio have worked out deals with other operators to share infrastructure. They are also discussing tie-ups with mobile phone manufacturers to offer bundled services (where the cost of the handset is built into the monthly tariff and paid over several months).
These telecom operators hope to cut down their capital costs and operational expenditure on infrastructure, through tie-ups now and mergers and acquisitions after the government notifies M&A guidelines for the sector.
For example, Reliance Jio has tied up with both Airtel and RCom to use their telecom towers and optical fibre network. By doing so, Reliance Jio will save on costs while Bharti Airtel and RCom will earn additional revenues.
Voice tariffs in India are already the lowest in the world at an average of half paisa to one paisa per second. Currently, operators charge 10 paisa on an average for each kilobyte of data downloaded. This price is still considered prohibitively high for youth and young executives, a key target consumer segment for the telcos. These tariffs are set to follow the trend of voice tariffs.
Bharti Airtel and BSNL are in discussions with smartphone manufacturers like Micromax and Nokia to bundle the low cost data plans, “Voice equivalent data tariff could be offered around Holi,” said a marketing executive in Bharti Airtel.
Such low cost data packages bundled with smartphones will hit the markets in the next few months, first in the metros and then in high revenue earning cities like Chandigarh, Lucknow, Hyderabad, Bengaluru, Ahmedabad and Indore.
Operators are in advanced stages of negotiations with Nokia, Sony, Samsung, LG and Micromax to bundle low cost data plans.