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Jio introduces low-cost unlimited tariffs after free offer is shut down

Days after TRAI’s recommendation that it shutter its latest free offer, Reliance Jio has launched low-rate unlimited data plans.

The 4G newcomer has scrapped its Summer Surprise offer - which would have provided free service to Jio Prime members for three months - after being advised to do so by the regulator. However, the operator now appears to be replacing the promotion with low-cost tariffs that it claims will provide additional benefits to subscribers enrolled in its Jio Prime programme.

Branded as Dhan Dhana Dhan, the plans will offer unlimited SMS, calling and data for three months. The cheaper of the two, priced at INR309 ($4.72), will guarantee 1GB per day at 4G speeds, with throttled speeds thereafter. The INR509 plan will offer 2GB per day at 4G speeds. Non-Prime subscribers can access the plans for INR408 and INR608 respectively.

This generous daily data allowance means that the new offers are actually significantly cheaper than the Summer Surprise deal if customers sign up for a year. The now defunct promotion would have provided free voice and unlimited data for INR303 a month, with no charge for the first three months.

An operator statement read that Jio had “implemented simple, affordable and regulatory compliant plans…to smoothen the migration from free to paid services.”

However, market leader and key rival operator Bharti Airtel – which recently complained to the regulator about Jio’s free offers – was quick to decry the tariffs as a workaround to continue offering their promotion. An Airtel representative said: “This is a classic example of old wine in a new bottle. We hope that the authority will act against this provocative disregard of their direction.”

Current number two Vodafone India also took exception, claiming to TRAI that Jio had essentially transgressed its recommendation.