‘Airtel Black’ in the works to counter Reliance Jio’s new data plans, offers

All eyes are on Airtel’s next big move to counter Reliance’s Jio Fiber broadband, Jio PostPaid Plus, and other new services. Airtel hasn’t yet laid out its cards on the table yet but the operator is reportedly working to refresh its existing services to keep users interested. The focus, however, is on premium customers as it is looking to sustain average revenue per user (ARPU).

Airtel is working on an ‘Airtel Black’ package under its ‘Airtel Thanks’ programme to offer more premium bundled features, according to a report in Economic Times. The ‘Airtel Black’ will be available to subscribers with Rs 999 plan and above and will offer a big bundle of premium apps, access to OTT platforms, discounted international roaming, off on consumer brands and improved content offerings among others, the report added.

The report says ‘Airtel Black’ will help the company push lower tier of Airtel Thanks users to upgrade to more premium plans. Airtel currently offers postpaid plans at a starting price of Rs 499 per month. The base plan features 3G/4G data rollover up to 75GB, unlimited local/STD and roaming calls, three months of free access to Netflix, one year of Amazon Prime, and Airtel Thanks rewards.

Airtel had introduced ‘Airtel Thanks’ programme in October last year to offer more value-added services to customers with Rs 100 ARPU and above. The programme debuted with free access to OTT platforms for a limited time and exclusive offers on phones. Just recently Airtel announced offering free Hello Tunes to prepaid, postpaid users.

Airtel Black, if launched, will compete with Reliance’s ‘Jio Postpaid Plus’ programme. Unveiled at the AGM 2019 earlier this week, Reliance Jio is offering priority SIM setup service, seamless connectivity between devices, data sharing, and discounted international roaming plans. Jio will also push ‘Jio Postpaid Plus’ as a universal hub for its key home solutions.

Unlike Airtel’s premium customer focus, Reliance Jio is looking to increase its subscriber base even though it has already become the country’s top operator. RIL Chairman and Managing Director Mukesh Ambani revealed Jio had already surpassed 340 million subscribers in India and aims to hit 500 million subscribers in the near future.

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