The ongoing coronavirus lockdown in India resulted in all retail stores except those selling essentials being closed. As a result, recharge outlets across the country were shut down as well. To help their subscribers during this period, private telcos including Airtel, Vodafone and Reliance Jio first extended the validity of prepaid plans up to April 14th, and then to May 3rd. While Airtel and Vodafone offered the extended validity and benefits to lower-income groups, Reliance Jio did it for all users.
As the government has relaxed the restrictions for offline retailers, telcos have been allowed to open all recharge outlets. In light of this development, telcos will no longer extend the validity of their prepaid plans.
Airtel, Vodafone Idea and Reliance Jio will no longer extend validity of prepaid plans
As mentioned before, the Indian government has relaxed the strict lockdown rules. As a result, small stores and other vendors are opening up. According to Rajan Mathews, Director General of Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI), recharge needs of both rural and urban areas have been addressed with the activation of common service centre.
COAI represents telcos such as Vodafone, Bharti Airtel, and Reliance Jio. These companies have decided that they will no longer extend the validity of their tariff plans. In fact, Vodafone Idea issued an advisory in UP-West urging people to get the recharge done from more than 6,500 outlets available including Kirana stores and medical shops.
Apart from extending the validity period, telcos also offered extra benefits to their subscribers at no extra cost. Airtel and Vodafone even credited free talk time worth Rs 10 to their subscribers’ account. Reliance Jio, on the other hand, offered 100 minutes of free talk time as well as 100 text messages to its subscribers.