This implies: a pre-paid user can continue to receive incoming calls for life after a single recharge, as against the current system of restricted validity, based on the recharge package.
The move is seen as a response to the recent Tata Teleservices's [ Get Quote ] 'Non-Stop Mobile' scheme, which allows a customer to receive calls for two years without buying a recharge voucher.
This offer notched up over a million subscriptions in just 45 days and also saw the company increase its market share in the mobile space to 4.5 per cent in November from a minuscule 1.5 per cent a year ago.
An Airtel mobile user will have to pay Rs 999 for availing the new scheme, following which the user can receive incoming calls free for a lifetime.
This scheme also offers the user full talk time on every future recharge of any denomination. Bharti has also thrown the scheme open to all its existing pre-paid subscribers.
"Considering the record growth of Tata Tele in November, and coupled with the fact that Idea Cellular [ Get Quote ] and MTNL [ Get Quote ] too have come out with similar packages last month, Bharti may have been compelled to respond with a pioneering innovation," said an industry analyst.
Last month, Idea Cellular had introduced 'I-Power pre-paid vouchers' under two schemes, with one package offering a 3 year validity and a talk time of Rs 150 for Rs 2,999, and the other offering a 2-year validity and a talk time of Rs 100 for Rs 1,199.
MTNL followed suit and launched three new pre-paid cards, offering three-year, two-year and one-year validity with limited talk-time.
Priced at Rs 2,400, the 3-year card carries a talk-time of, while the Rs 1,600 two-year card offers a talk-time of Rs 200 and the one-year Rs 900 card provides a talktime of Rs 100.