Why Jio may not lose too many subscribers even after free period is over

The freebies are finally coming to an end. After 6 months of enjoying free Jio services (albeit with caps), Jio has finally announced that post 1st April 2017, users will have to pay up for services. Jio’s 100 million subscribers will now have to either go for the regular tariff plans or opt-in for a new “Jio Prime scheme”.

The regular Jio plans had been announced earlier, and Mukesh Ambani announced the Jio Prime scheme today. It will be open only for subscribers before 31 March 2017. They have to pay a one time fee of Rs 99 and then monthly Rs 303 for one year to enjoy services like:

1. 1GB daily FUP limit

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2. The media and content benefits associated with the Jio apps suite

3. Calling will continue to be free

Although telecom companies maybe heaving a sigh of relief, it maybe premature to uncork the champagne. Even with Jio finally asking money for services, it may be hard for users to move away:

1. Habits have changed

There must be countless users who previously would sparingly use 3G/4G services due to the costs. The same people are now used to consuming 1 GB per day, since Jio offered it for free. No other rival company can still match Jio’s tariffs. Will these users who have been addicted for 6 months, suddenly be ready to go back to pre-Jio days of austerity?

2. The taste of 4G

There will be another set of users who were always on 3G or even 2G, avoiding 4G due to its costs. Although Jio’s 4G is not known to be the fastest, practically, it may be as fast or faster than 3G offered by many companies. And in many Tier II and Tier III cities, Jio could very well be as fast or faster than regular wired broadband. Can those users adopt to slower speeds now?

People queued up in numbers for Reliance Jio SIM when it was launched

3. Jio is finally the second sim

Over 56% of users surveyed in a recent poll indicated that they used Jio only as a second sim. Most of these users could be using Jio only for the data services. They may have reduced or removed their data packs on their primary sim to enjoy Jio’s data. Will they go back to their operator? Especially when Jio seems to be giving a better deal?

4. Jio TV and Jio Mags

Value Added Services which will be bundled in for free in Jio Prime, like Jio TV and Jio Mags couls still be a a big draw for users. Jio TV also includes Hotstar usage so one cannot rule out this added bonus tipping the scales in favour of Jio.

5. Jio is unreliable? Well so are others

Though subscribers have raised concerns against dip in quality provided by Jio, the problem remains same across the telecom spectrum. Subscribers are used to telecom problems like frequent call drops, poor signal, poor 3G speed, roaming  issues, etc. Telecom operators maintain silence when they are questioned for that. In such scenario, Jio wouldn’t face phasing out for poor services.

6. Free Unlimited Calls

Unlimited free calls is the lifeline of  Jio. Many subscribers in India will tolerate dip in quality as long as the voice calls are free. Even if other operators are jumping with same propositions, people would like to maintain same contact numbers.

Well, only time can tell how long will these subscribers stick to Reliance Jio, but going by the public sentiments on social media platforms, it seems that Reliance Jio is going to enjoy the market for some more time.


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