Indian mobile operator Reliance Jio said more than 50 million subscribers signed up for its Jio Prime discount programme, which it launched in late February, when it announced it would begin to charge for data on 1 April.
With Jio’s subscriber base reaching 100 million in just five months since its September launch, Prime members now account for at least half of its total users. The operator hasn’t disclosed updated subscriber numbers since late February.
Customers have until end-March to sign up for Prime membership, which costs INR99 ($1.48) and offers unlimited data and free voice for a year for INR303 a month.
The 4G newcomer extended its free voice, data and video offer from the end of 2016 to end-March as part of a new year offer. Rivals Bharti Airtel and Idea Cellular have both questioned the validity of Jio’s extension, filing complaints with the telecoms regulator and competition agency.
Jio’s entry into the market sparked a round of much-needed consolidation, with the country’s number two and three mobile operators by subscribers – Vodafone India and Idea – announcing plans to merge. Telenor Group reached an agreement to sell its Indian operations to market leader Airtel, while Reliance Communications entered into negotiations with Tata Teleservices, which has 53 million customers.