Just a week after it won the accolade of being the first private operator to introduce 3G in India, Tata DoCoMo has launched an aggressive tariff plan eyeing on converting its existing 2G customers into 3G substantially.
According to the new plans, 3G customers would be paying anything between 0.66- 1.1 paisa per second for a normal voice call, which more or less equals the current tariff of 1 paisa per second for its 2G customers. Coming to the data plans, it ranges between 250 MB and 2GB of data usage for Rs 500 and Rs 2000 respectively per month.
This time there won’t be any differentiation between its prepaid and postpaid customers in terms of the plans. However, there would be a special plan for the former, wherein they pay Rs 350 a month for 500 minutes of talk time (Both local and STD) and 150 MB of data usage. This seems a favorable option for many of them. Tata DoCoMo has also kept a special consideration for those 2G customers, who would not like to shift completely to 3G, but want to have a real feel of it. They can now do so by shelling out Rs 200 for 200 MB or Rs 500 for 650 MB of data usage per month. Tata DoCoMo is confident that these tariffs are competitive and that customers will accept them.
In another note, Tata DoCoMo also foresees a substantial rise in the average revenue per user (ARPU) owing to some of the middle and high-end subscribers, who download data every day.
Quite contrary to these, the PSU telecom major BSNL has no plan that has both voice and data services. For voice calls, its subscribers pay between 49 paisa to Re 1 per minute. It however, has a better data plan of Rs 549 for 1GB of data. This may look appealing but if you consider the cost of 2000 minutes of voice call that TaTa DoCoMo offers, the value comes to around Rs 1000 ( @50 paisa per minute). BSNL customers would pay extra for this talk time. BSNL also has better data plans such as Rs 999 for 10 GB of data and also Rs 1359 for unlimited data. However, voice charge comes extra always.
MTNL on the other hand charges Rs 450 for 1 GB of data. It charges Rs 750 and Rs 2,500 for 2GB and 25GB of data respectively.
Industry experts comment that ARPU rate in India averages around Rs 140 per month and above Tata DoCoMo is asking customers to pay twice or thrice that amount per month. Moreover, there is no incentive for higher usage. As such the propagation may be slower than what it expects.
There seems to be a competition going on in the 3G market already. But the market is not yet prominent. As and when it picks up heat and when other private players also join the bandwagon making it more competitive, Tata DoCoMo might consider reworking on its 3G tariff plans. Let’s see who wins the race.