Vodafone, Airtel minimum balance recharge – What is it, will free incoming calls stop, why is it important?

Are you tired of those annoying bank messages that repeatedly remind you to maintain a minimum balance in your bank account? Brace yourselves as soon you will be bombarded with similar annoying messages from telecom operators. The telecom companies, backed by TRAI, have made it mandatory to keep a minimum balance of at least Rs 35 to prevent SIM deactivation. To put it simply, you will not only be required to maintain a minimum balance in your bank account but also in your phone’s main balance.

Of course, the minimum balance recharge will have to be maintained only by prepaid users. it is not something that the post users need to worry about. Apparently, the plan by companies like Airtel and Vodafone, which is charging Rs 65 as minimum balance phone plan, is that by this requirement they will be able to keep their subscribers “active”.

Airtel and Vodafone Idea users are receiving messages from the company warning them of SIM deactivation if they do not recharge their number with certain recharge plans. “#Soochna! Apka Vodafone mobile number 1234565678″ band kar diya jayega. Number jaari rakhein kisi bhi Unlimited/All rounder recharge se. Dial kare *121#,” this is the message that the Vodafone users are receiving if they do not have a minimum balance in their account. While Airtel has kept its minimum balance at Rs 35, Vodafone recommends Rs 65.

The ARPU or the Average Revenue Per User of Airtel, Vodafone and Idea dropped after Jio stormed the telecom market in 2016. The ARPU of Airtel and Vodafone-Idea’s, in the July-September quarter, dropped to a record low of Rs 100 and Rs 88 respectively whereas Rs 131 for Jio. The telecom companies are having hard time on their profitability and revenue because of Jio and that has pushed them to go for these minimum recharge plans.

Airtel, which may lose nearly 70 million customers on ending the lifetime free incoming plan, says that it does not bother the company as many of the SIMs working under the plan were not being used. In fact, the minimum recharge plan will help generate ARPU for the company. Airtel, therefore, in October replaced many of its prepaid plans with minimum ARPU plans and made it mandatory for existing users to recharge their numbers with minimum Rs 35. Similarly, Vodafone-Idea also replaced its existing free plans with limited validity plans. The move targets to discourage users who use Vodafone or Airtel as a secondary SIM in their handset for incoming calls only and probably a Jio SIM as primary for making free calls and unlimited data.

What happens if you fail to keep minimum phone balance?

So, what happens if you fail to maintain minimum balance? Your phone company – Airtel or Vodafone-Idea – will notify you via SMS to recharge your number with a minimum balance within 15 days. Your outgoing calls and mobile data will be stopped during these 15 days and if you fail to recharge your number after that then your incoming calls will also be barred. Your services will resume as you do the recharge followed by another SMS informing you of the date till when your services will remain active. You need to recharge within validity for the uninterrupted services.


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