Vodafone India has launched a promotion for its customers in the state of Haryana, where the operator plans to commercially launch its 4G services soon. As part of the campaign, customers who pre-book their Vodafone 4G SIM until 23 August will receive a 1GB 4G data bonus valid for 10 days from activation. To access the offer, Vodafone customers in Haryana need a 4G-enabled handset and an active Vodafone 3G package. In addition, Vodafone 4G customers from Haryana will be able to access 4G connectivity while roaming across all existing Vodafone 4G circles in India—Mumbai, Delhi and environs, Kerala, Karnataka and Kolkata. Vodafone has already made 4G-ready SIMs available at 250 branded stores and at over 5,000 multi-brand outlets across Haryana.
The capital investment required to launch 4G-LTE services is quite substantial, and operators will of course want to know that there will be a customer base in place to provide the return on its investment. India is a rapidly developing mobile marketplace making the transition from 2G/3G to 4G. To incentivize its existing customers to purchase a 4G-enabled handset in order to be ready for the launch of the high-speed services, and to be willing to accept the higher charges for that service, Vodafone is offering some free data. A one-time 1 GB giveaway is not particularly extravagant by developed-market standards, but for users who have not previously had the ability to consume large amounts of data via high-speed networks, it will likely be very appealing. Most important, though, from a strategic point of view is the fact that Vodafone India is requiring customers to pre-book their 4G service in order to get the promotional offer. With enough pre-booked subscriptions, the operator will have the confidence of knowing that its new service will have enough subscribers to bring in enough revenue to make it viable. We consider this to be a very savvy approach.