Why Vodafone Flex Is Complex And Expensive

vodafone-flexVodafone India today launched its new prepaid tariff plan called Flex. The tariff plan is aimed at simplifying the prepaid customers’ woos of choosing their desired recharge plan from the hundreds of complicated tariff structures that an operator offers.

In this plan, Vodafone offers an integrated structure where the value of the recharge can be used for voice calls, data usage and for SMS. So, as per the company, a customer does not have to worry about recharging his phone with difference recharge value for voice, data or SMS separately, or even for roaming.

In the Vodafone Flex plan the customer buys one recharge value and it can be used for everything. The various value denominations the company offers are Rs 119, Rs 199, Rs 299 and Rs 399. And the recharge vouchers do not have any pre-fixed quota for any of the services. So, practically the value can be used entirely for one service or can be distributed among all these four services -voice, data, SMS and roaming.

The company today said Flex is the simplest tariff plan and a revolutionary product for pre-paid users.

However, we believe, its a complex and more expensive one.

Why Vodafone Flex Is Complex?

Over 90% of Vodafone customers are on pre-paid plan. A prepaid customer can be defined by two sharp identifiers. One, he keeps track of the expenditure of his talk time – how much he spends on data, voice or SMS. That’s why he chooses his tariff plans very meticulously and recharges his phone depending on the benefits he get from various recharge plans. Second, he spends less and spends judiciously.

Now, what happens with Vodafone Flex? Each recharge value has some fixed Flex points, say the Rs 119 plan gives you 325 Flex. You can use this Flex points to make call, send SMS or use it for data or roaming. As per the company, 1 Flex equivalents to 1 MB of data, or 1 SMS or 1 minute of incoming call on roaming. But to make a local or STD call, one requires 2 Flex points.

Now, the consumer needs to remember the Flex numbers before buying a Vodafone Flex recharge. Its certainly not simplifying the customer experience.

And How Is It Expensive?

Say, you recharged your phone with Rs 119 Flex plan. You got 325 Flex points means you can use 325 MB of data for Rs 119. So, on GB scale you need to pay Rs 366 for 1 GB of data which is way expensive than the market offerings. Operators usually charge Rs 250 for 1 GB data. Even Vodafone itself charges Rs 175 for 1 GB data under normal prepaid plans.  In Flex, for the same amount of Data you need to pay Rs 366.

This is on the lowest Flex value plan, and when asked, the company executive said the data value will come down once you use a bigger denomination. Now, lets see the Rs 399 plan. It gives you 1750 Flex points or 1750 MB or 1.75 GB data. By Vodafone’s earlier plans 1 GB costs Rs 175 and now by paying Rs 399 you get 1.75 GB data. Means you have to cough up Rs 224 for just 750 MB data. How expensive is that now!

Lets admit, the Flex is not a data only plan. You can use the Flex for voice calls, SMS, data and roaming as well.

Now lets talk about voice calls and SMS expense. In the Vodafone Flex Rs 119 plan you get 162 minutes of talk time, means 75 paisa per minute. This is expensive too if compared to the rate or prepaid plans that are currently in use. But the cost per call per minute reduces in the bigger recharge packs like Rs 399 where it comes down to 45 paise per minute.

For SMS, yes, the Flex is a cheaper option. In Rs 119 you can send 325 SMS at 37 paise per SMS, and this cost goes down with higher value recharges of Vodafone Flex



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