Airtel offers free data for Rs 1495, needs the money to buy a dictionary

Airtel's new 4G plan for prepaid customers is Rs 1495, and definitely not 'free' like the company has mentioned

Written by Swapnil Mathur | Updated: September 25, 2016 9:02 am
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Airtel has just announced a new offer for its prepaid customers as a means of gratifying those who were taken in by the Reliance Jio data offers. According to the press release sent out by Airtel, they are offering a “special 4G data pack that offers free* data for 90 days. While the pack is available for Rs 1495 for existing users; new users can avail this offer via first recharge of Rs 1495.” The release is worded rather cleverly, and a little asterisk is supposed to be the only warning of the conditions that apply.

For starters, the data isn’t free. You ARE going to pay Rs 1495 for the pack, which comes out to roughly Rs 500 per month. Secondly, you’re not getting unlimited 4G data. There is a data cap of 30GB on 4G, post which your speeds would be reduced to the 64Kbps. In the age of high-speed internet, there’s nothing like trying to surf websites on dial-up era speeds. Effectively, you are paying just a little less than Rs50/GB of 4G data, which one could argue is better than the Reliance Jio offering because for the same price, you are getting faster bandwidth. What still doesn’t make sense is how any of this correlates to the word “free.”

How do we go about this? You buy a pack for Rs 1495 but what exactly do you get free? We reached out to Airtel for an explanation and turns out, the paltry 64Kbps speed you will get after exhausting your 30GB of LTE data is “free”. That’s like going to a five-star restaurant, paying for a meal and then seeking solace in the fact that the glass of water they served as you were welcomed into the posh establishment was “free”.

Dear Airtel, with all that revenue you generate, maybe buying a dictionary should be on your list of priorities because you do not know what the word FREE means. It would have made more sense if the deal was advertised as “Pay Rs. 1495 for 15 GB of 4G data and get additional 15GB free”, but no. It was more important to be slimy with words, in the hopes that you’d be able to fool a large base of your pre-paid customers. It would also be nice if you stopped assuming that your customers have the IQ of a rock, because over decades of misleading advertising, we have learned that nothing in life is free, especially when it is being offered by a big company like yours. Airtel’s so called “free data” offer for which you must pay Rs 1,495 for a validity of three months is only available to their pre-paid customers and is only active in the NCR circle. They plan to bring this “free data” offer to other circles in the coming days, in a bid to take on Reliance Jio.

While it may seem like Airtel has brought the “hammer down” on the Ambani brand, truth of the matter is that with Airtel, you end up paying more up-front. Reliance Jio’s plans are based on monthly payments while Airtel requires you to cough up three month’s rent before you get the pack activated. Sounds a little like trying to find a house for rent in Bangalore. Not to mention, Relaince Jio’s offering isn’t limited to a kind of customer and neither is it region locked. Airtel is only offering the “free data” to pre-paid customers, probably because post-paid guys don’t deserve anything good in life.

If you would still like to shell out Rs 1495 for “free data” you may do so by going to Airtel’s website or just calling customer service. We should warn you though, just don’t mention to the customer care representative that you’d like to switch to the “free data pack” for Rs. 1495 as you may warrant some unwelcome laughter.