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Airtel announces 20-25% tariffs hikes for prepaid offerings effective from Nov 26

A representative image of a person walking past a Bharti Airtel office/Image Courtesy/Reuters

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Airtel announces 20-25% tariffs hikes for prepaid offerings effective from Nov 26


New Delhi: Telecom major Bharti Airtel will raise the prepaid tariffs by 20-25 per cent for various prepaid offerings, including tariffed voice plans, unlimited voice bundles and data top-ups. Accordingly, the new tariffs will come into effect from November 26, 2021.

In a statement announcing the revised mobile tariffs, Airtel said that it has always maintained that the mobile 'Average Revenue Per User' (ARPU) needs to be at Rs 200 and ultimately at Rs 300, so as to provide a reasonable return on capital that allows for a financially healthy business model.

"We also believe that this level of ARPU will enable the substantial investments required in networks and spectrum. Even more important, this will give Airtel the elbow room to roll out 5G in India," an Airtel statement said.

For the just-ended quarter, Airtel's mobile ARPU increased to Rs 153.

This revision is part of their "rebalancing" of tariffs, the filing said.

According to the new tariff plan, the entry-level tariffed voice plan has been raised by about 25 per cent, while for unlimited voice bundles, the increase in most cases is about 20 per cent. The Sunil Mittal-led telco - whose India mobile customer base stood at about 323 million at the last count - has also increased the tariffs for data top-up plans by about 20-21 per cent.

As a first step towards this, the company said it is taking the lead in "rebalancing" tariffs during November.

In tariffed voice plans, the new rate is Rs 99, against the current Rs 79 - which works out to an increase of 25.3 per cent. This comes with 28 days validity and benefits like 50 per cent more talk time worth Rs 99, 200MB data, 1p/sec voice tariff.

The other categories where a hike has been announced are unlimited voice bundles and data top-ups.

This is the first time after a long gap that the company has hiked tariffs at this scale.

Previously, the revision had been to a limited extent. For instance, in July this year, Airtel discontinued its Rs 49 prepaid recharge, raising entry-level pricing to improve realisations, and also upgraded its postpaid plans.

The hikes are far-reaching, this time around.

In the unlimited voice bundle, Airtel's plan priced at Rs 149 will now be Rs 179 with a validity of 28 days and benefits such as unlimited calling, 100 SMS/day, 2 GB data; even as at the top end the Rs 2,498 plan has been hiked to Rs 2,999 and comes with 365 days for unlimited calling, 100 SMS/day and 2 GB/day data.

For data top-ups, the Rs 48 plan would now cost Rs 58, offering 3 GB data; while the Rs 98 plan has been increased to Rs 118 with 12 GB data.

Airtel has also announced a tariff hike in Rs 251 data top-up plan, which will now cost Rs 301 with 50 GB data.

It is pertinent to mention here that Bharti Airtel Chairman Sunil Mittal had earlier this year said the industry's tariffs need to go up amid tremendous stress in the telecom sector.

With Airtel announcing the tariff reset, many industry watchers expect Vodafone Idea and Jio to follow similar lines.

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