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‘Hotstar VIP’ free on Jio but 4G woes keep offer away from Kashmir

Srinagar: Reliance Jio has announced a special partnership with Disney+ Hotstar offering a one year free VIP subscription to the streaming service for its prepaid users.

But t Jio subscribers in Kashmir say the offer is “useless” to them given the ban on high-speed 4G internet in J&K for consecutive 10 months now.

On Saturday, Jio announced that customers can either choose monthly, annual or data add-on vouchers, to get the free benefit at no extra cost.

To get the one year of Disney+ Hotstar VIP subscription free of cost, Jio customers can opt for the Rs 401 monthly plan that offers 90GB of 4G data, unlimited voice calling and access to Jio apps valid for 28 days. This plan also entitles a year subscription of Disney+ Hotstar VIP worth Rs 399.

While the offer stands for all Jio prepaid subscribers including those in Kashmir, the suspension of high-speed internet automatically throws it off the charts for them.

“I do try logging in to Hotstar but the application takes a lot of time to even load up, leave alone actually watching anything on it,” said Altaf Ahmad, a Jio prepaid subscriber in Srinagar’s Lal Bazar area.

Atta-ul-Munim, another Jio subscriber in south Kashmir said such offers are “useless”.

“How can we avail the offer when we can’t even load the application,” he said.

To mention, high speed data services have remained suspended in Kashmir since August 2019 when Article 370 was abrogated and the erstwhile state divided into two union territories.

Even after multiple petitions in High Court and Supreme Court, the services continue to remain suspended for straight 10 months now.  

Earlier in April, The Kashmir Monitor reported how the over 30 lakh Reliance Jio subscriber base in J&K has paid around Rs 400 crore in bills and recharges without actually getting full services.

A rough estimate of around 33.56 lakh Jio subscribers in J&K (as per January 2019 TRAI data) shows each subscriber shelling at least Rs 150 a month.

The Disney+ Hotstar VIP subscription costs Rs 399 per year, while the flagship Disney+ Hotstar Premium subscription costs Rs 1,499 per year. While some of the Disney+ content is available for VIP subscribers one still needs the Premium subscription if you want access to Disney+ original content such as the Star Wars spinoff ‘The Mandalorian’ or all the movies under Marvel, Star Wars, Pixar, and Disney.