Vodafone Idea Limited, one of the three major telecom services providers in India, has announced benefits for some of its userbase in light of the coronavirus pandemic and nationwide lockdown. The company will be offering benefits to its prepaid users who use feature phones, in order to keep low-income users connected through the lockdown period. This includes both an extension in plan validity for users whose plans might be expiring during the lockdown period, as well as additional talk time for users to be able to continue placing outgoing calls.
Around 100 million users are expected to benefit from these measures, according to Vodafone Idea Limited (VIL). The company will extend prepaid plan validity for feature phone users up to April 17 (for users whose plans would be expiring before that) in order to allow users to continue to receive incoming calls. Due to the lockdown, users may not be able to step out to purchase recharge vouchers, and this will allow these users to remain connected.
The company will also be adding Rs. 10 as additional talk time for feature phone users on prepaid plans, which can be used to place outgoing calls or send SMS. Eligible users can expect to receive the benefits in the coming days, with VIL promising that it will be done as fast as possible. These benefits are specifically meant for feature phone users, as these users typically rely on offline merchants or brand stores to recharge their prepaid connections, and will apply to users of both the Vodafone and Idea brands.
Smartphone users aren’t set to receive any of these benefits, with VIL offering the option to recharge connections through online and digital platforms such as the official app or website, as well as e-wallets or USSD to keep connections active. Airtel has announced similar benefits for its low-income users, with an estimated 80 million customers standing to benefit from the measures. The COVID-19 lockdown is expected to continue till April 15 across India.