Telecom operators announced tariff hikes of their prepaid plans last month. With the increase in tariffs, these plans also reduced benefits that came with the entry-level plans. Vodafone Idea or Vi was initially not giving SMS benefits with its basic prepaid plans. The Telecom regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) then received complaints from rival telco Jio who noted that the absence of SMS benefits was making it difficult for users to port out following which the regulator passed a directive noting that users can port out to other telcos with any prepaid or postpaid plan.
Airtel is now reportedly offering SMS benefits with its Rs 99 prepaid plan which is also the cheapest prepaid plan to offer bundled SMS benefits. According to Telecom Talk, the telco is giving 200 MB data, Rs 99 talktime, tariff calls at one paise per second, and SMS at Rs 1 for local SMS and Rs 1.5 per STD SMS. The plan has a validity of 28 days.
Vodafone Idea or Vi is separately giving SMS benefits priced at Rs 42 and Rs 51. The Rs 42 plan is a sports pack and gives unlimited SMS score alerts for an ongoing cricket match. The Rs 51 plan also does not have outgoing SMS benefits and gives 1GB data and 28 days validity.
Earlier this month, Jio revised its most basic daily data prepaid recharge Jio plan which is priced at Rs 119. When the plan was introduced, it gave 1.5GB of daily data with a validity of 14 days. This plan gives access to unlimited voice calls and Jio apps but did not give any SMS benefits. Jio has now revised the plan benefits to offer 300 SMS with the plan. Jio noted that it continues to provide the lowest tariffs despite the 20 per cent increase in tariffs.
Through Mobile Number Portability (MNP), users can move to a rival telco while retaining their old number. Subscribers are required to send an SMS first to their service operator after which a request is initiated that may take four to five days.