Just a few days after being ordered to withdraw its Jio 'Summer Surprise' offer, telecom giant Reliance Jio has announced that it will soon begin offering new plans and offers to customers. While no actual specifics are known at the moment, it's likely that Reliance Jio has figured out how the previous offer was in violation of TRAI's regulatory framework and has come up with a way to avoid the same problem. So far, there has only been a teaser on Jio's website.
Details of the 'Summer Surprise' offer as well as Jio Prime membership have been removed from the website. The company had stated that everyone who had already applied for the Jio Summer Surprise offer would still get the benefits, and that it would take some time to completely wind down. New customers can no longer buy the Rs. 99 Jio Prime membership or minimum recharge of Rs. 303 through the official website or MyJio app. However, Jio Prime membership remains open till April 15, as previously announced by Reliance Jio, and there are still ways to sign up for the full range of benefits.
Jio customers who don't avail of the Summer Surprise offer can look forward to the new plans when they are announced. It is possible that Reliance Jio wants to put even more pressure on competitors who have been cutting their own tariffs and giving away 4G data either heavily discounted or free.
Let's take a look at other top stories of the day.
Flipkart raises $1.4 billion, buys eBay.in
Flipkart's massive $1.4 billion (approximately Rs. 9,030 crores) fundraising round is officially the largest amount of money raised by an Indian startup. The company is now valued at $11.6 billion. Tencent, eBay and Microsoft are the major new investors. Part of the deal involves Flipkart taking over the eBay.in business and eBay acquiring equity in Flipkart. The partners have announced that eBay.in will continue to be an independent website. Flipkart has also announced that it will be using Microsoft's Azure cloud computing platform and analytics as well as AI technology to help drive customer engagement.
In related news, Flipkart has also indicated that it is going to take another stab at the hyperlocal groceries market. The company is not ruling out more mergers and acquisitions to help it break into what it sees as a high-value space to be in. This will be Flipkart's second attempt to crack the groceries market, after its spinoff app Nearby which was shut down within months of its October 2015 launch.
BSNL offers 300GB of data per month at Rs. 249
BSNL is jumping into the telecom wars with its own offer of 300GB of data at a discounted rate of Rs. 249 per month for six months. The offer is only open to new subscribers, and they will automatically be migrated to a higher priced plan after that time. The speed is relatively low at 2Mbps for up to 10GB per day, and 1Mbps thereafter. Unused data within the daily cap will be carried forward to the next day.
Subscribers to this plan will also get free phone calls to any network in India, from 9pm to 7am and all day on Sundays. The plan is valid in all BSNL circles other than Jammu & Kashmir and the Andaman & Nicobar. The minimum subscription period is one month and there is also a deposit of Rs. 249 to be paid.
Snapdeal founders' letter to employees indicates that an exit is imminent
Following a massive rebranding, multiple top-level executive departures, layoffs, and unusual attempts to cut costs, Snapdeal founders Kunal Bahl and Rohit Bansal have written a letter to all employees addressing rumours that Flipkart or another third party will soon buy it out. The founders do acknowledge that Snapdeal's investors are "driving the discussions about the way forward".
The crux of the letter is that the wellbeing of all employees is of top importance to the founding team, and that they should not fear what is to come. However, if Flipkart does merge with Snapdeal, it is likely that there will be redundancies between the two.
The letter states that employees will be receiving salary increments and promotions within the next two weeks, and that the general standard for raises will be higher than last year's because the business has done well.
Vivo, Micromax, and Coolpad launch new models in India
Vivo, title sponsor of this year's IPL cricket tournament, has launched an IPL Special Edition version of its Vivo V5 Plus smartphone. This device is matte black and sports the IPL logo on its back, but is otherwise exactly the same as the Vivo V5 Plus. It is priced at Rs. 25,990 and will be available through offline stores as well as Flipkart.
The Vivo V5 Plus is a selfie-focused smartphone, and was launched in January. It has dual front cameras to help users take selfies with depth of field effects. It is powered by an octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 625 SoC and has 4GB of RAM. Gadgets 360 reviewed this phone and rated it 7/10.
Micromax's new launch is called the Bharat 2, and it is extremely affordable with a price tag of just Rs. 3,499. This phone supports 4G with VoLTE and runs Android 6.0 Marshmallow. It has a 4-inch 480x800-pixel screen, 1.3GHz Spreadtrum SC9832 processor, 512MB of RAM and 4GB of storage. There's also a 2-megapixel rear camera and a 1300mAh battery.
Coolpad has made the more affordable variant of the Coolpad Cool 1 Dual (Review) available online, following its offline-exclusive launch in December last year. This variant has 3GB of RAM and is priced at Rs. 10,999 while the more expensive variant has 4GB of RAM but is otherwise identical. Interestingly, the latter has also dropped in price from Rs. 13,999 to Rs. 12,999. Both options give you 32GB of storage, a 5.5-inch full-HD screen, a large 4000mAh battery, and Qualcomm Snapdragon 652 SoC as well as dual rear cameras.
Moto E4 specifications reportedly leak
After launching the new premium Moto Z series and mainstream Moto G5 siblings, it only makes sense that Lenovo would turn its attention to the entry-level Moto E series. Leaks indicate that the purported upcoming Moto E4 and Moto E4 Plus will both run Android 7.0 Nougat, have 16GB of storage, and support LTE. The two variants could also have 2800mAh and 5000mAh batteries respectively, but differences beyond that, such as screen size, are not known yet.
The leaks come courtesy of tipster Roland Quandt, who examined US FCC listings and spotted two Motorola identifiers.
RCom reportedly asks 380 employees to leave due to poor performance
Reliance Communications (RCom) has reportedly sacked approximately 380 employees whose performance was deemed to be poor following the company's latest appraisal cycle, with the fates of 260 more still to be decided, according to PTI. Company spokespeople did not release any statement to PTI when requested. Reliance Communications reported its first ever consolidated net loss in the last quarter, following its acquisition of Sistema Shyam TeleServices Ltd (SSTL) in 2016.
Pokemon Go hopes to keep users interested with a new co-op multiplayer mode
Pokemon Go was one of the biggest crazes of 2016, but its popularity has waned considerably since its explosive launch. Developer Niantic has announced that it will be adding a new cooperative social gameplay mode to the game in the near future. The company also stated that the game still has 65 million monthly active users.