Reliance Jio’s free data offer and subsequent moves by competitors to reduce data charges seem to have had a dramatic impact on Facebook usage in India.
The impact of the Jio free data offer was so profound that it took Facebook’s global monthly active user (MAU) numbers to record highs. On Facebook’s last earnings call, CFO David Wehner said. “The quarter witnessed Facebook’s “strongest absolute MAU and DAU (daily active user) additions year-over-year since being a public company“. When questioned further, Wehner singled out India: “India was our strongest growth market.”
While Facebook hit a net neutrality wall in India back with their Free Basics offering, they have never given up on the Indian market.
Facebook has its largest user base in India with around 195 million accounts, according to Statista, a data collecting platform. The US comes second with 191 million users. However, per user revenue stands at a measly Rs9 (13 cents) in India.
A recent study by Smartapp had pegged Facebook as the biggest beneficiary of Jio’s free data offer. The finding revealed that Facebook logins had surged to 467% after Jio started free promotional services.
The second biggest beneficiary has been video apps such as YouTube, Hotstar, Amazon Prime and Netflix, which together have seen a jump of 336%. The social Internet giant is also expected to ramp-up hiring and is likely to invest more in video content, the company said.
TRAI is OK with Jio free data
Meanwhile, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has given a clean chit to Reliance Jio’s offer of free voice calling and data plans. PTI reports that the authority sent a letter to Bharti Airtel and Idea Cellular informing them that Jio’s Happy New Year offer was not violating the principles of non-discrimination, interconnect rule compliance, and non-predation.
TRAI conveyed its decision after Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi opined that Reliance Jio’s tariff plans did not violate any existing regulation or order issued by TRAI, and that it should not intervene in the matter.
Vodafone and Idea Cellular
Vodafone, which is “exploring” a merger with Idea Cellular for its Indian unit, has reported declining service revenues in third quarter pressured by Reliance Jio’s free offerings, among other concerns.
“Service revenue in India declined by 1.9% in the Q3 (as opposed to a gain of 5.4%) in the Q2 driven by heightened competitive pressure following free services offered by the new entrant and the adverse impact of demonetization on prepaid top-up volumes during the quarter,” Vodafone said in a statement.
This article first appeared on PricingDataPlans