Airtel to fund Project Next with Rs2K crore
Bharti Airtel will invest Rs 2,000 crore to enhance customer services under which its post-paid subscribers will be able to rollover unused mobile data to next billing cycle and get mobiles repaired on monthly payment starting at Rs 49.
The telecom major announced that it will invest Rs 2,000 crore over three years under Project Next to revamp customer touch points — Airtel stores and mobile application, and enhance post paid customer experience.
"This is first step towards transforming Airtel into a digital services provider. Over the next three years, we are planning to invest Rs 2,000 crore on Project Next to upgrade our touch points and services,"
Gopal Vittal, MD and CEO for India South Asia, Bharti Airtel said. Airtel's investment will be spread across its 2,500 branded stores where a customer will be able to create its own plan and experience services of the company.
The company is providing single bill option for families under which its post-paid customer can share post paid plan with members of the family against monthly charge of Rs 199. However, the usage will be limited to the existing plan of the customer who will add other members.
"A customer can add any number of the family member in his plan from My Airtel App," Sarang Kanade, director for customer experience, Bharti Airtel said.
Airtel has launched "The Security Promise" scheme under which it will provide free repair service of liquid or accidentally damaged mobile phones priced below Rs 18,000 at Rs 49 and above Rs 18,000 at Rs 99 monthly rental. The security scheme will also provide protection from online threats.
From August 1, under the project, all Airtel postpaid customers will be able to carry forward their unused monthly data quota to the next billing cycle. This would, however, be limited to 200 gigabyte of accumulated data.
Airtel is also conducting trials of VoLTE or voice over LTE technology in five cities. It hopes to take it pan-India in the "later part of the year".
Voice over Long-Term Evolution (VoLTE) is a technology for faciliating voice on 4G network, and lowers the cost of offering voice calls.
At present, Mukesh Ambani controlled Reliance Jio is the only operator in India offering voice on 4G network using VoLTE technology. The roll out of VoLTE by larger players like Airtel is expected to open up a new frontier in the price war with rival Reliance Jio, and experts say it may set the stage for cheaper voice offerings.
"Our Voice over LTE is in the works. We are currently doing trials in five cities ... We have done some testing. At some stage towards the later part of the year, we should be able to take VoLTE everywhere," Gopal Vittal, MD and CEO (India and South Asia), Bharti Airtel said at a conference.
The Bharti Airtel stock, which went up 5.39 per cent on the BSE was the biggest Sensex gaineron Monday.