Reliance Jio will be the telecom service provider for Railways from January 1. For over six years now, Railways has used Airtel as its provider for 1.95 lakh mobile connections.
The service is being used by railway employees in Closed User Group (CUG) across the country.
For this, Railways pays around Rs 100 crore per year. Closed User Group (CUG) is a supplementary service provided by mobile operators to subscribers who can make and receive calls and sms from any member within the group.
Jio will provide 4G/3G connections for railways and calls will be free of charge. The telecom company will offer four schemes, 60 GB plan with monthly rental of Rs 125 for senior most officials, 45 GB plan at a monthly rental of Rs 99 for joint secretary level officers, 30 GB plan at a rental of Rs 67 for group C staff and Rs 49 rental plan for bulk sms.
Railway employees will have to pay Rs 10 for 2 GB of extra data they use. Calls outside CUG will also be free starting January 1. Jio will serve 3.78 lakh railway personnel vs the 1.95 lakh served by Airtel.
According to a senior railway official, this means a better deal from Jio and a likely reduction of 35 percent in Railways' phone bill.Disclosure: RIL, the promoter of Reliance Jio, also controls Network18, the parent company of CNBCTV18.com.