The death of unlimited free 5G data looks imminent. Both Reliance Jio and Bharti Airtel are poised to discontinue their unlimited 5G data offerings according to reports coming in now. They are likely to implement a 5-10 percent increase in charges for 5G services compared to existing 4G plans.
This far reaching, consumer sensitive move, as per an ET report, is projected to be rolled out in the second half of 2024, aiming to stimulate monetization and drive revenue growth.
For nearly a year, Jio and Airtel have enticed subscribers with affordable 5G connectivity, but with the imminent nationwide rollout, a shift towards higher charges seems imminent. The report notes that the number of 5G users in India is expected to surpass 200 million by the end of 2024.
5G Services : Outlook in 2024
Analysts foresee a substantial mobile charge increase, potentially exceeding 20 percent in the September quarter of 2024. This adjustment aims to enhance Return on Capital Employed (RoCE) and address the significant investments required for 5G infrastructure and the associated costs of customer acquisition.
While the revised 5G data plans are expected to be marginally pricier than their 4G counterparts, providers may sweeten the deal by including 30-40 percent more data in the bundles. This strategic move not only promotes increased usage but also positions Jio and Airtel to consolidate their market share. Notably, Vodafone Idea (Vi), another major telecom operator, is yet to introduce 5G services in the country, providing an opportune moment for their competitors to solidify their standing in the market.
5G services made their debut in India in October 2022, with leading telecom operators Reliance Jio and Airtel spearheading the rollout. Surpassing 125 million subscribers collectively, the companies initially provided 5G connectivity at 4G rates, accompanied by unlimited data within specific plans.