New Delhi- Bharti Airtel on Friday announced a 10-21 per cent hike in prepaid and postpaid mobile tariffs, a day after larger rival Reliance Jio announced an increase in rates.

The move assumes significance, as it marks the first major increase in tariffs by the telecom industry, in two-and-a-half years.

Airtel’s tariff hike across various plans ranges from 10-21 per cent, and will be effective from July 3.

While the rate of daily data add-on (1GB) will see an increase by Rs 3, rising from Rs 19 to Rs 22, in the case of 365-day validity plan offering 2GB/day, the increase works out to as high as Rs 600, as rates are set to rise from Rs 2,999, all the way to Rs 3,599.

In the unlimited voice plan category, tariff has been raised from Rs 179 to Rs 199, marking a Rs 20 increase in this 28-day validity plan that offers 2GB of data to users.

“We have ensured that there is a very modest price increase (less than 70 paise per day) on entry-level plans, in order to eliminate any burden on budget challenged consumers,” Airtel said announcing revision in its mobile tariffs.

Bharti Airtel said it has maintained that the mobile Average Revenue Per User (ARPU) needs to be upwards of Rs 300, to enable a financially healthy business model for telcos in India.

“We believe that this level of ARPU will enable the substantial investments required in network technology and spectrum and offer a modest return on capital,” the telco said.

Airtel’s move comes close on the heels of tariff hike announcement by Reliance Jio, and market watchers expect a similar tariff hike move from Vodafone Idea soon.

Jio, India’s largest telecom operator, announced a 12-27 per cent hike in mobile tariffs on Thursday.

That said, a look at the tariff and rate hikes announced by the two telcos respectively, indicates that most of the Airtel mobile plans will still cost more than that of Reliance Jio.

Airtel, in fact, has been strongly advocating the need for tariff hike in the industry, and has time-and-again flagged the ‘absurdly low’ levels of rates prevailing in India compared to other parts of the world.

Among the unlimited voice plans, Airtel has raised tariffs in the ballpark range of about 11 per cent, and accordingly rates are revised from Rs 179 to Rs 199; from Rs 455 to Rs 509; and from Rs 1,799 to Rs 1,999.

In the daily data plan category, the Rs 479 plan that comes with a 56-day validity and 1.5GB/day, has been increased to Rs 579 (20.8 per cent hike).

The 1GB/day plan with 28-day validity has been tweaked from Rs 265 to Rs 299, whereas the 1.5GB/day offering has increased from Rs 299 to Rs 349.

In the longer 84-day validity plans subscribers will have to shell out Rs 140 more (in absolute terms) depending on the offering. Here, the 1.5GB/day offering has been raised from Rs 719 to Rs 859, while the 2GB/day offering has been raised from Rs 839 to Rs 979.

The data add-ons too have become dearer — for 1GB and one day validity, the rates have been increased from Rs 19 to Rs 22; and in case of 2GB, the prices will move from Rs 29 to Rs 33. The 4GB add-on, with 65-day validity, has been hiked from Rs 65 to Rs 77.

The post paid rates will see 10-20 per cent increase, translating to Rs 50-200 hike in absolute terms depending on number of connections and benefits dished out.

Airtel said that the new prices apply to all circles, including Bharti Hexacom Ltd circles.  (PTI)


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