The membership of Reliance Jio Prime, India's newest telecom operator, has crossed the 7 crore mark as per the media reports. The new Prime plan is aimed at subscribers who wish to continue the benefits of the free ‘Happy New Year’ plan after it expires on March 31.
The company has offered customers its Prime membership on a one-time fee of Rs 99. Data packs for such members are available for as low as Rs 149 per month. Voice calls on Jio will remain free.
Some other sources also put the Jio Prime membership at five crore till Thursday. A company official said daily addition are going up exponentially and actual numbers will be shared after the expiry of the free offer on March 31.
According to industry estimates, out of the 100-105 million subscribers that Jio has at present, around 30% are secondary connections taken by individuals to get extra free data.
Out of the remaining 70 million unique subscribers, Jio may be targeting to convert at least two-thirds to the Prime loyalty programme.
At 50 million, Jio will become the largest provider of paid broadband services in the country. Market leader Bharti Airtel had a combined user base of 37.7 million for its 3G and 4G services at the end of December. This was down from 41.3 million three months earlier.
82% users willing to continue with Jio post free offers
According to a Bank of America Merrill Lynch survey, nearly 82% of Jio users have expressed their willingness to continue with its services even after the free offers ends.
In the same breath, the report said that incumbents, particularly Bharti Airtel, should be able to retain most of high-end subscribers given they provide better voice/customer service, but the Average Revenue per User (ARPUs) will come under pressure.
"Almost 82% of the surveyed participants responded that they will continue with Jio connection even after the ending of the free offer. A further 15% agreed to continue with Jio connection if the voice issue is fixed," it said.
The findings are based on a survey conducted in the third week of March of 1,000 Jio users to gauge how the consumer behaviour changes after having experienced Jio services for almost six months and also in the wake of the announcement of the new Prime offers.