Airtel, Idea shares down after Reliance Jio’s new offer announcements

Telecom stocks came under selling pressure today, led by Airtel which lost 4%, after Reliance Jio Chairman Mukesh Ambani announced a slew of offers, including 20% more data than any rival from April.

“Last few months a lot of tariff plans have been launched, which has caused data and value anxiety. Jio will monitor all publically announced plan for all operators across the country on a regular basis… At Jio we will not only match the highest selling tariff of each of the telecom operators… but provide 20% more data for all those plans,” Mukesh Ambani said at a press conference in Mumbai.

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Shares of Bharti Airtel declined by 4.02% to end at Rs 360.55 on BSE. During the day, it lost 4.27% to Rs 359.60.

Idea Cellular went down by 0.37% to close at Rs 108.30 after falling 1.88% to Rs 106.65 in intra-day.

Shares of Reliance Industries Ltd on the other hand rose by 1.36% to close at Rs 1,088.25.

Reliance Jio has crossed the 100 million customers mark in 170 days of launch, Ambani said that his company will continue to offer free voice calls and national roaming post April 1, when its promotional free voice and data offer ends.

For existing customers, he announced that the current benefits will continue under a new tariff plan for another 12 months by payment of Rs 303 per month and a one-time joining fee of Rs 99.

The competition from Jio is very stiff; and has most of the existing telecom companies on its knees. To take on Jio, Vodafone Group Plc’s Indian unit is in merger talks with Aditya Birla-promoted Idea Cellular Ltd. Vodafone Group had to write off 5 billion euros in its Indian business last year and defer a proposed share sale which will become irrelevant should the merger go through.

Idea has been pushed into the red, with losses of Rs 384 crore in the third quarter of 2016-2017. While Airtel’s profits have fallen 55% in the price war against Jio.

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