Vodafone ‘Double Data’ offer — the cheapest in India — to end in Dec?

Vodafone sent out a press release announcing its Double Data offer that offers 4G data at Rs 50 per GB, but a close look at the terms and conditions of the offer reveals that it has been in effect from October, and will end on Dec 31.

“This is a limited period offer by Vodafone India, available from 18th October 2016, 00:00:01 hrs till 31st December 2016, 23:59:59 hrs, both days inclusive,” the telecom operator says in the terms and conditions.

The double data offer, as the name signifies, offers twice the regular data entitlement as usual.

While earlier, you would get only 1 GB of 4G data for Rs 250, now you get 2GB.

For Rs 999, you now get 20 GB instead of 10 GB, bringing down the cost per GB to Rs 50.

This makes it the cheapest offer in India and in line with the Rs 495 for 10GB plan announced by Tata DoCoMo recently.

Just like Tata DoCoMo, Vodafone’s new plans are not available across the country, but only in nine circles — Mumbai, Delhi, Gujarat, UPE, West Bengal, Kolkata, Karnataka, Kerala and Haryana.

While DoCoMo’s plan is available for those using 3G handsets, Vodafone’s is available only for those with 4G handsets and a 4G SIM from the company. In addition, he or she must be an “active 4G customer”.

However, the person is likely to be able to continue to use the extra data on 3G networks if and when he or she moves to an area where only the 3G network is there.

It is also applicable for customers roaming from other 4G circles, Vodafone said.

Those using USSD for activating their data packs will not be able to enjoy the double data plans, the operator said, adding that paper recharges and online recharges are supported.

For now, it is not clear whether the company will extend it beyond Dec 31 or not. The plan was conceived at a time when Reliance Jio was supposed to end its free trial service at the end of December. However, given that the Mukesh Ambani-led company has decided to continue the free offer — albeit with lower limits — it is likely that its competitors will be forced to extend their own competing plans too.

Part of the reason for such plans is to prevent total data usage on these rival networks from declining compared to the preceding periods. Bharti Airtel, Vodafone and Idea Cellular have been seeing a rise of around 10-15% in data consumption every three months for many quarters, and are keen to maintain the growth — even at the cost of cutting prices.