Bharti Airtel's aggressive 3GB free offer per month to new users has further ratcheted up the competitive pressure in the industry. Bharti Airtel on Tuesday announced a special scheme under which it is offering free data for 12 months to customers who switch to its 4G network.
Any customer, including existing Airtel customers, upgrading to a new 4G handset can also avail this offer. This Airtel offer will close on February 28, 2017. Under this Airtel offer, customers will get free 3GB data every month till December 31, 2017 with select prepaid and postpaid packs. This free data benefit will be over and above the pack/plan benefits.
For example, Airtel's Rs 345 prepaid pack offers free calls - Local and STD - to any network in India plus 4GB data (1GB regular pack benefit 3GB free data). The pack benefits will be valid for 28 days and can be availed for a maximum of 13 recharges till December 31, 2017.
Postpaid users will also get free 3GB data per month with all MyPlan Infinity Plans.
This new offer from Airtel comes in the wake of a tariff war in the telecom sector after the entry of Reliance Jio. Jio had earlier announced a 'Happy New Year' plan with free unlimited data and voice calls for all users until March 1, 2017.
Gaurang Shah of Geojit BNP Paribas said that Jio's 'Happy New Year' offer has "pushed back the earnings visibility for incumbents by two and three quarters more."
Mr Shah says that the sector could see a consolidation with "larger players will get a bigger pie of the market." Mr Shah remains positive on both Bharti Airtel and Idea Cellular shares.
Global brokerage Citi also has a positive stance on Bharti Airtel shares with target price of Rs 365.
Bharti Airtel shares were up 0.81 per cent at Rs 316 while Idea Cellular shares edged higher by 0.60 per cent to Rs 75 in noon trade.