Airtel and Vodafone Idea have extended low income subscribers' prepaid pack validity to May 3. This is due to the ongoing COVID-19 crisis that has resulted in the entire nation practising social distancing. Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL), on the other hand, has extended validity for its subscribers till May 5. The telecom operators have announced an extension of validity for the underprivileged in the first phase of the lockdown, and now that the second phase has been announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the validities have been extended further. Airtel says that incoming calls won't be discontinued even after validity exhaustion, and Vodafone has introduced the same benefit for feature phone users. BSNL on the other hand is extending the benefit for all its subscribers who have almost zero balance.
Airtel says that over 30 million of its low income subscribers haven't been able to recharge their accounts due to this unprecedented crisis. The operator notes that all of these customers will be able to receive incoming calls even if their validity packs have exhausted. Similarly, Vodafone Idea suggests that 90 million of its customers fall under the low income bracket. The company has announced the extension of incoming services for feature phone users only. “This incoming validity extension is being credited in the accounts of all eligible customers, as fast as possible, over the coming days,” Vodafone adds.
Following Airtel and Vodafone's footsteps, BSNL has also extended incoming calls validity of all subscribers whose packs have expired during the lockdown and are having almost zero balance. The state-owned telecom operator has extended the validity to May 5.
While subscribers get the benefit of active incoming calls, no other data or talk time benefits are offered. To avail these services, Vodafone Idea, BSNL, and Airtel subscribers will have to do a recharge. Because of the lockdown, many customers who aren't well-versed with online tools haven't been able to recharge their packs. To help these customers and also help people make a small earning during the crisis, these telecom operators have announced ways in which subscribers can earn by recharging for others.
For instance, BSNL has launched a new toll free number 5670099 for subscribers to avail facilities like ‘Ghar Baithe Recharge' and ‘Apno ki madad se recharge'. This toll free number works in North and West zones currently, and will be available from April 22 in South and East zones. With the new ‘Ghar Baithe Recharge' feature, a subscriber can request for a recharge and a BSNL executive will come home to manually get the recharge done. ‘Apno ki madad se recharge' feature, on the other hand, allows subscribers to request a recharge from a friend or family.
Vodafone has introduced a new #RechargeforGood programme that enables a subscriber to earn up to 6 percent cashback on recharges done for someone else. These recharges need to be performed using the MyVodafone or MyIdea apps. Similarly, Airtel has introduced the ‘Earn From Home' plan, wherein an Airtel subscriber has to register to become a Superhero, and then subsequent recharge of other people's prepaid accounts will earn them a cashback. Airtel offers an outright cut of 4 percent in recharge amount, wherein the Superhero will have to pay less for the recharge at checkout.