Reliance Jio arrived in the Indian telecom sector as a disruptive player, bringing voice calls, 4G data, and other services for free till December 31 to users across the country. However, its launch did not result in the tariff war that many had expected.
With Reliance Jio now extending its free services by another three months as part of the Jio Happy New Year Offer, telecom operators have started launching new plans and recharge packs of their own, offering unlimited voice calls, and various data benefits, in order to retain users.
Gadgets 360 took a look at the best unlimited calling plans and mobile data offers provided by incumbent telecom operators Airtel, Vodafone, and others. Plans with limited minutes didn't make it to the list, so you won't be misled. Even so, make sure you check the fine print of the offer before making your decision. Check out the table at the end for a quick comparison.
Airtel unlimited voice calling and data plans
Airtel has launched two new unlimited calling packs for prepaid users, which offer local and STD calls without any caps, along with data benefits.
The Rs. 145 Airtel voice calling recharge pack provides users the option to make local and STD calls to any Airtel user across the country. Along with this, 300MB of 4G data will be provided to the customers; however, if your phone does not support 4G, you'll only get 50MB of data.
Airtel’s Rs. 345 prepaid recharge pack comes with unlimited voice calls to any network across the country. With this unlimited voice calling pack, Airtel is providing bundled data benefits of 1GB for 4G customers, but again, only 50MB for users of mobile phones “ideally suited for Web surfing and accessing light social media apps,” according to Airtel.
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Postpaid users can opt for the Rs. 799 myPlan Infinity, which provides with unlimited local and STD calls, 100 SMSs per day, 2GB of data, and Wynk Music and Wynk Movies subscription. Those who want more data or use roaming services frequently can choose the Rs. 1,199 plan, which comes with the same calling and SMS benefits, along with free roaming calls and 5GB of bundled mobile data.
Both prepaid and postpaid users who switch to Airtel's 4G network by February 28 will get 3GB of free data per month till December 31, 2017 as part of a new plan. So, the Rs. 345 unlimited calling recharge pack will provide them with 4GB of data instead of 1GB; while 1GB of the data will be credited instantly, the user will have to head to the MyAirtel app to avail the remaining 3GB data. Similarly, 3GB of extra mobile data will be provided for Airtel myInfinity postpaid users who upgrade to the Airtel 4G network.
Vodafone unlimited voice calling and data plans
Vodafone has a number of unlimited calling and mobile data offers for prepaid and postpaid customers. The most attractive Vodafone data offer is the Double Data offer, which provides you with twice the data benefits on recharges of Rs. 255 or above. Therefore, for the Rs. 255 prepaid data recharge, you get 2GB of mobile data instead of the standard 1GB. The same applies for 3GB, 4GB, and higher value data recharges.
Along with this, Vodafone is providing users of new 4G smartphones 10GB of data, for the price of 1GB. However, the extra 9GB of the 4G or 3G data (depending on their telecom circle) can be used only between midnight and 6am. Those who opt for this plan will also get a free Vodafone Play subscription, the company's TV, movie, and music streaming service. The offer is available for both prepaid and postpaid users, till December 31, 2016.
The basic Vodafone unlimited calling prepaid recharge pack, priced between Rs. 144 and Rs. 149 (depending on the telecom circle) provides unlimited local and STD calls to Vodafone users as well as 300MB of bundled 4G data and free incoming calls on national roaming. Vodafone’s Rs. 344-349 recharge pack allows users to make the unlimited calls to any mobile network and landline in the country, free roaming, and 1GB of 4G data. Those who do not use 4G handsets will get 50MB of mobile data.
Vodafone Red Rs. 499 postpaid users will get 3GB of mobile data for 4G users (1GB for 3G users), along with unlimited voice calls, free incoming roaming, and 100 free text messages a month. The Rs. 699 and Rs. 899 Vodafone Red plans come with 5GB of data for 4G smartphone users (2.5GB for non-4G handsets), and 8GB of mobile data for 4G phone users (5GB for non-4G smartphone users), respectively; all other benefits are the same between the three plans. Vodafone's Rs. 1,299 Red postpaid plan comes with unlimited calls on home network as well as on roaming (i.e. free outgoing calls on roaming). It also comes with 100 text messages, and 12GB of bundled 4G/ 3G data for 4G smartphone users (8GB for non-4G smartphones).
Idea Cellular unlimited voice calling and data plans
Idea Cellular has launched the Rs. 148 prepaid recharge pack that allows users to make unlimited local and STD calls to Idea users, as well as 300MB of 4G data. On the other hand, the company’s Rs. 348 plan allows users to make unlimited calls to any network in the country, plus 1GB of 4G data. Those who choose these recharge packs but do not have 4G smartphones will get 50MB of mobile data.
Coming to data recharges, Idea Cellular had cut the prices of its 3G/ 4G mobile data recharges by up to 67 percent, for prepaid recharges of 2GB or higher – for example, you have to pay Rs. 349 for a 2GB recharge now instead of Rs. 449. For mobile data recharges of 1GB or lower, the price cut had been up to 45 percent – so, now you get 90MB of data for Rs. 22, rather than the 65MB you used to get earlier.
Just like Vodafone and Airtel, Idea Cellular is providing 3GB of extra data to 4G users. Those who have new 4G handsets will get 4GB of data on the Rs. 348 recharge (instead of 1GB), along with unlimited calling and SMS. Idea postpaid customers subscribing to Rs. 499 rental plan will get unlimited local, national and incoming roaming calls with 3GB free data on 4G handset. Non-4G handset users will get unlimited calling benefits and 1GB free data.
Reliance Communications unlimited voice calling and data plans
Anil Ambani’s Reliance Communications has an unlimited call plan priced at Rs. 149, which allows users to make calls to any network in the country without any caps. Along with this, the plan comes with 300MB of bundled data. The data benefits remain the same for 2G, 3G as well as 4G users.
BSNL unlimited voice calling and data plans
BSNL has launched an unlimited calling pack (local+STD) for prepaid users a month at Rs. 144. Like many rivals, the state-run BSNL will provide 300MB of mobile data to users under this plan. The state-run telecom operator has also revised its data plans to offer up to four times the data for the same recharge value. For example, it will offer 8GB of mobile data for Rs. 291 now, instead of the regular 2GB. Similarly, the Rs. 78 recharge will now provide 2GB of data, rather than 1GB.
| ||Amount (Rs.) ||Unlimited calling within network ||Unlimited calling to all networks ||Free data |
|Airtel ||145 ||Y ||N ||300MB |
| ||345 ||Y ||Y ||1GB |
|Voda ||144-149 ||Y ||Y ||300MB |
| ||344-349 ||Y ||Y ||1GB |
|Idea ||148 ||Y ||N ||300MB |
| ||350 ||Y ||Y ||1GB |
|Reliance Communications ||149 ||Y ||Y ||300MB |