CHENNAI: Even as it waits for government support in the form of a relief package, the telecom industry continues to gradually increase tariffs in bits and pieces. Following similar moves by Vodafone Idea and Bharti Airtel, rival Reliance Jio has now introduced a new entry-level prepaid plan for its JioPhone users, replacing two earlier plans that were cheaper but valid for fewer days.
The new plan is valid for 26 days and priced at Rs 75. It offers unlimited local and national calling and 3GB of data. On the other hand, the discontinued plans were priced at Rs 39 and Rs 69 and valid only for 14 days. The Rs 39 plan had offered users 100MB of data per day, and the Rs 69 plan 0.5GB per day.
Jio’s move echoes recent measures by Airtel and Vodafone Idea earlier this summer to increase their average revenue per user (ARPU) figures. Airtel had discontinued its Rs 49 prepaid plan in all 22 circles in July, and introduced a new entry-level plan at Rs 79 per month. Airtel had also tweaked its postpaid plans for its enterprise customers, discontinuing the Rs 199 and Rs 249 per month plans for the segment and increasing tariffs. Vodafone Idea had followed Airtel’s move, introducing a new Business Plus postpaid package for enterprise users.
Analysts say the recent hikes and those expected to be rolled out soon will help telecom companies increase their revenues, with consumer spends on mobile packages expected to rise by 5%sequentially in the current quarter. The upswing in revenues would come at an opportune time for telecom firms, whose ARPUs have seen a drastic fall over the past few quarters.
According to Edelweiss analysts, the sector and Vodafone Idea, in particular, would need sizable tariff hikes.VIL has been strapped for cash with substantial payments upcoming. “The structural issue undermining the sector can be solved only with a sizable tariff hike for 4G prepaid customers,” it said.