Bharti Airtel and Vodafone-Idea Limited have announced plans to increase tariffs for customers from December 1. Both players reported massive losses in the quarter ending September 2019, with combined losses standing at 74,000 crore for the telecom companies.
In a statement Airtel said they will increase prices from December itself in order to keep the business viable. “The telecom sector is highly capital intensive with fast changing technology cycles that require continuing investments. It is, therefore, extremely important that the industry remains viable to support the vision of Digital India,” the company said in a statement.
Airtel noted that the operating prices have been eroding the viability of the sector. The hike will apply to both prepaid and postpaid customers.
Vodafone Idea Limited (VIL) also highlighted that in India mobile data charges are by far the cheapest in the world, even as demand for mobile data continues to grow and given the financial stress it will also increase tariffs from December 1, 2019.
“The acute financial stress in the telecom sector has been acknowledged by all stakeholders and a high level Committee of Secretaries (CoS) headed by the Cabinet Secretary is looking into providing appropriate relief,” VIL said in a statement.
Vodafone Idea will suitably increase the prices of its tariffs effective December 1, 2019, the company said in a statement. Vodafone reported a consolidated loss of Rs 50,922 crore, the highest ever loss posted by any Indian corporate. This was on account of liability arising out of the Supreme Court order in the adjusted gross revenue (AGR) case.
Both Airtel and Vodafone are offering a minimum of 1GB data a day on plans starting at prices as low as Rs 169 bundled with unlimited calls and 100 SMS per day. Given the price hike, we can expect that the prices for some of these prepaid plans to go up. Further, both players increased the amount of data they offer on postpaid plans along with free unlimited calling. All of this could change and the plans could end up being more expensive post December 1.
Airtel: Existing prepaid, postpaid plans details
Airtel’s postpaid plans start at Rs 499 online, though the Rs 399 plan is available in Airtel Stores as well. The Rs 499 rental offers 75GB of data bundled with free calling, three months of free Netflix and one year of Amazon Prime subscription. There is also access to Zee5 and Airtel XStream content.
The Rs 749 postpaid plan offers 125GB data, unlimited calls, and similar benefits for Netflix and Amazon Prime, Zee5 and Airtel Xstream. The next plan is Rs 999, which has 150GB data and similar benefits. The most expensive plan from Airtel costs Rs 1599, which comes with unlimited data per month, and 200 ISD minutes and 10 per cent off on international roaming packs. Other benefits are the same as other plans. All plans come with 200GB of data of rollover option, which means technically users never run out of data. It is not clear if data benefits will reduce as well after the hike.
In prepaid, Airtel has a Rs 129 prepaid plan with 2GB data and unlimited calling. Then there is the Rs 169 plan with 1GB data per day and unlimited calls. For those who want more daily data, the Rs 299 plan comes with 2.5GB data per day. Airtel’s Rs 199 plan, which competes with similar plans from Jio and Vodafone, comes with 1.5GB data for 28 days and unlimited calls.
Airtel’s Rs 499 prepaid plan has a validity of 82 days with 2GB data per day. All of these prepaid plans come with unlimited calling on local and roaming, which was not the case before Jio entered. Users had to get separate talktime and data recharge packs, all of which changed post 2016. With the price hike, we can expect the prepaid party to end as well.