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 '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 and MTNL 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.