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Now, Vodafone Offers Double Validity on Voice Calls. Ploy to Retain Customers Before 4G Launch?

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Earlier this month, Vodafone had effectively halved their mobile internet data prices by offering double data on pre-paid recharge packs. Now, in a surprise move they have announced double validity on their rate cutter packs for voice calls. For a price of Rs. 7, Vodafone will offer double validity for their customer on pre-paid rate cutters packs in Mumbai circle.

Elaborating on the Vodafone Double Validity offer, Ishmeet Singh, Business Head- Mumbai, Vodafone India, said, “Mobile telecom services in Mumbai are still largely voice dominated. Over 60% of the Vodafone Mumbai revenues are contributed by Voice plans. Double Validity is yet another customer centric initiative from Vodafone, conceptualized with the objective of ensuring our customers have control on how they utilize their plan and get full value for money. It is a refreshing offering that blends affordability with customer empowerment.”

Why these rate cuts?

In India, voice call rates have been stabilized for a long time now. No telecom operator wants to reduce the rates further and trigger a price-war, especially because they are operating on a wafer thin margin when it comes to voice calls. Hence, this move by Vodafone is surprising. In a span of a month, Vodafone has effectively halved their prices on Data and voice.

These double validity schemes have come immediately after Airtel launched their 4G services across 296 towns in India including Mumbai.

One cannot help but think that this move by Vodafone is a ploy to retain customers and avoid them from moving to Airtel network for want of 4G connectivity.

With mobile number portability, users can quickly move to any other operator while retaining their number, so it has become very easy for users to shift between operators. By offering goodies like Double validity, Vodafone is trying to retain the customers on their network till such time that they launch their own 4G services.

Mumbai is a lucrative circle for Vodafone where they have over 6 million subscribers. Additionally, Mumbai users have some of the highest ARPU’s (Average Revenue per user) across the country, so losing these customers will have major effect on their bottom-line.

When is Vodafone 4G coming?

Airtel’s launch has now pressurized other operators to launch their 4G services in a hurry. In the 4G auctions held earlier in the year, Vodafone bagged nearly 5 MHz of spectrum in the 1,800 MHz band for Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Karnataka and Kerala. Singh had earlier confirmed that Vodafone will be launching 4G services by the end of the year. Vodafone is currently conducting 4G trials in all these 5 circles.

With Reliance Jio approaching the market aggressively in 4G services arena, both in terms of offerings and as well as price, it is going to be tough for the incumbents to hold on to their mobile data market share. We are surely in for some intense competition between various telco’s in India.

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