It was another busy week in the world of telecom. Reliance Jio announced its Republic Day 2018 Offer, under which data limits have been increased. The 1GB per day Jio plans now offer 1.5GB, while the limit on older 1.5GB plans have been raised to 2GB per day. This means Jio users will get 1.5GB daily data allocation with Rs. 149, Rs. 349, Rs. 399, and Rs. 449 recharge packs for 28, 70, 84, 91 days respectively; similarly, the Rs. 198, Rs. 398, Rs. 448, and Rs. 498 plans will now provide 2GB data per day.
The Rs. 98 Jio plan has changed the most. Its validity has doubled, from 14 days to 28 days, but the data usage on the other hand, has gone from 150MB per day (or a total 2GB for 14 days), to a total of 2GB for 28 days with no daily caps. Aside from this, the company also announced a new plan for the Jio Phone – which a recent study said is the best selling feature phone in the last quarter of 2017 – offering nearly a month of unlimited calls at Rs. 49.
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Under the new plan, Jio Phone users will get unlimited voice calls for 28 days at Rs. 49. Apart from this, they will also get 1GB of 4G data, with no daily usage cap. Reliance Jio also announced data add-on packs for the Jio Phone, starting from Rs. 11. The feature phone was launched back in last July with free access to services such as JioMusic, JioTV, and JioCinema.
Meanwhile, Airtel updated its Rs. 149 prepaid pack to now offer 1GB data per day. This brought it in line with Reliance Jio’s Rs. 149 pack, before the Republic Day 2018 Offer was announced and changed it all. Apart from this, the Rs. 149 pack was also updated with unlimited calling on roaming. Unlimited calling applies on local, STD, and roaming calls. Airtel has also revised its Rs. 199, Rs. 448, and Rs. 509 plans, which are now offering 1.4GB data per day, with validity of 28, 82, and 90 days respectively, which again falls just short of Reliance Jio’s updated plans. Airtel also announced an updated Rs. 399 pack, which offers 1GB of data per day for 84 days.
Meanwhile, in other important news, WhatsApp Business is now officially available in India. The app, which launched last week in select regions, allows businesses to manage customers more easily via WhatsApp. It allows customers to see useful information such as a business description, hours, addresses, and so on, and also includes smart messaging tools to provide quick answers to frequency asked questions, greeting messages, and so on.
WhatsApp for Business is only available on Android for now – an iOS version is in the works, though a release date has not been announced. And since the app supports WhatsApp Web, that means a business could log into the messaging service on their desktop, for maximum efficiency. WhatsApp Business is presently free, but it will be monetised in the future.
Meanwhile, Xiaomi has apparently surpassed Samsung to become India’s top smartphone brand. Two reports, by Counterpoint and Canalys, both state that the Chinese firm has finally overtaken the Korean brand. According to Counterpoint’s research, Xiaomi now has 25 percent of the shipments, while Samsung is down to 23 percent. That’s a far cry from the same time just last year, when Samsung held 24 percent of all shipments, and Xiaomi accounted for merely 9 percent. However, while Xiaomi is in the lead in the quarter, Samsung still remains number one for the year. According to Counterpoint, Samsung accounted for 24 percent of all shipments in 2017, again, just below 2016’s 25 percent. Xiaomi has seen its share for the year rise from 6 percent for 2016, to 19 percent in 2017. Counterpoint also said that the Xiaomi Redmi Note 4 has become the top selling smartphone of 2017.
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Aside from this, Canalys said Xiaomi shipped 8.2 million smartphones in the fourth quarter of 2017, while Samsung shipped 7.3 million. Canalys estimates that Xiaoi has 27 percent of the market, while Samsung has 25 percent. Samsung however, disagrees, and cites data from research firm GfK: “Samsung is India’s number 1 smartphone company by a distance. As per GfK, which tracks sales to end consumers, in the last (November) quarter Samsung had a 45 percent value market share and 40 percent volume market share. Samsung is a full range player and leads the smartphone business across every segment of the India market in 2017. More importantly, Samsung is India’s ‘Most Trusted’ brand. We owe our undisputed leadership to the love and trust of millions of our consumers in India.”
Xiaomi meanwhile says that product innovation and new operating models helped it to grow in India. “We are pleased that we have been able to retain our position as the No 1 smartphone brand in the Indian market (including both online and offline) according to reports from Canalys and Counterpoint,” Manu Jain, Managing Director Xiaomi India said. “India is a key market for us and…