Reliance Communications has launched a special tariff plan for college students in association with WhatsApp. The special tariff plan, called ‘My College Plan’, gives subscribers unlimited access to Facebook and WhatsApp for Rs 16 per month. The plan is for Reliance GSM customers only and is currently available in 16 circles across the country: Assam, Bihar and Jharkhand, Delhi, Gujarat, Kolkata, Madhya Pradesh, Mumbai, North East, Orissa, Rajasthan, West Bengal, and Uttar Pradesh. News of the plan was first reported by medianama.com.
In addition, the plan also lets you make calls and send SMS text messages at just 5 paisa within a specified group. Subscribers can also broadcast SMS messages for Rs 3 per message by sending the text to 51112.
However, like every other plan, we do have the conditions apply asterisk to water down the fun. Reliance states that subscribers can be a part of only one group at a time and any data consumed aside from Facebook and WhatsApp will be charged. Also, the plan will be renewed automatically every 30 days unless you unsubscribe from it.
Get unlimited WhatsApp, Facebook access for a small feeif you are a college student.
There has been no official communication or announcement from either Reliance or WhatsApp regarding this new plan, but it is a big step for the messaging app. It’s not clear how Reliance is implementing this service.
Social networking is one big phenomenon that most telecom operators are leveraging to encourage their subscribers to use data plans. Most have already provided free access to social networking sites through Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD) systems. Reliance had tied up with Facebook in 2010 for free access to the social network, as had Airtel and Tata Docomo.
WhatsApp app is available for all major mobile platforms and has quite a large user base. The popular US-based startup managed to record 10 billion messages in one day - comprising 6 billion outbound messages and 4 billion inbound messages - in August this year. The service has been growing in popularity as a messaging alternative in India owing to the limits on sending bulk SMS messages imposed by the Indian administration.
However, it seems Indian cellular carriers are not worried such Internet-based services could be a threat to revenues via SMS. WhatsApp has already denied that it is a threat. Instead, its co-founder, Brian Acton, said in an interview that WhatsApp was helping carriers move their customers to data packages that would, in the long term, prove more profitable. "I view it from the perspective that we're facilitating a broad movement to data plans and the entities that provide those plans are the carriers, so they stand to benefit quite substantially," he said. "It's all about the data.”
Head over to the Reliance website to check if your college is listed.