With every passing day India is inching closer to becoming a digitally powerful nation. Though it is a long way to go, the rapid mobile penetration in the country, growth of internet clubbed with the increase of online retail activities is making the journey shorter. Providing internet services is becoming the sole agenda for the operators in the country beginning with Uninor. Today we see Aircel walking a similar route by joining hands with online marketplace Snapdeal.

According to the new alliance, Aircel has tied up with Snapdeal to offer a free data package to customers who will buy a data-enabled phone from the website. The offer, 3GB of free 3G/2G data with a phone, will be valid for a period of three months.

According to the Aircel CMO Anupam Vasudev, “The intent of this partnership is to increase data penetration and usage amongst our user base, specially the youth.”

With mobile turning into the first screen in the country, the online activities in the country are also growing rapidly. In a recent report, Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) and IMRB states that the number of online user visits to mobile segment has gone up from 6.31 million in January 2013 to 20.70 million in January 2014, registering a Year on Year (YoY) growth of 228 percent.

Making data cheap and providing it to the customer on her consumption patterns is the only alternative left for telecom operators, with SMS and voice revenues being challenged by messaging apps like WhatsApp.

Telecom operator Uninor recently announced a deal with Facebook and Whatsapp where it is offering the services at fixed costs rather than on usage.

Since the majority of the people access Facebook and WhatsApp as a source of entertainment and information, the company is making these services the cheapest on Uninor. According to the new plans by Uninor, Facebook is at Rs. 0.5 per hour and Rs. 1 for a day of Whatsapp.

Providing data for free for a certain duration and tying up with online retailers is a desired strategy considering the present times to entice customers in a cut throat market.