Tariff hike by telecom companies complies with the prescribed regulatory framework: DoT

All three major private telecom service providers, Jio, Airtel, and Vodafone have announced tariff hikes ranging from 10% to 25% last week.
Telecom companies Bharti Airtel, Vodafone Idea and Reliance Jio.
Telecom companies Bharti Airtel, Vodafone Idea and Reliance Jio. (File Photo)

NEW DELHI: A day after the Congress party criticised the government over the tariff hike by telecom service providers (TSPs), the Ministry of Communication defended the increase, mentioning that the hike complies with the prescribed regulatory framework.

In a press statement issued in response to the Congress party's claims that consumers would face an additional burden of Rs. 34,824 crore due to the tariff hike, the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) clarified that telecom service providers (TSPs) have raised mobile service prices after more than two years.

 “In last 2 years, some of the TSPs have invested heavily in rolling out the 5G services across the country. This has resulted into a significant increase in median mobile speed to the level of 100 Mbps and jump in the India’s international rank from 111, in October 2022, to 15 today,” said the DoT in its press statement.

All three major private telecom service providers — Reliance Jio, Bharti Airtel, and Vodafone Idea Limited — have announced tariff hikes ranging from 10% to 25% last week. The last such hike occurred in November 2021. This time, Reliance Jio led with a tariff increase of 12-25%, followed by Airtel with hikes ranging from 11% to 21% across its prepaid and postpaid plans. Vodafone Idea (Vi) also increased tariffs by 10-23%.

The DoT also highlighted that the tariff hike was implemented in accordance with the provisions of the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) Act 1997, which empowers TRAI as an independent regulator to set telecom service rates in the country. It noted that for the past two decades, mobile service rates have been determined under forbearance by TRAI.

The government further explained that with three private sector players and one public sector player, the current mobile services market operates under the forces of demand and supply. It emphasized that the focus remains on safeguarding subscriber interests, promoting orderly growth through investments in cutting-edge technologies, and ensuring financial sustainability.

 The government underscored the importance of investing in advanced technologies such as 5G, 6G, IoT/M2M for Industry 4.0, emphasizing their role in ensuring the financial viability of the sector. It also mentioned that in the decade preceding the last ten years, the telecommunications sector was beset by controversies and lacked transparency, leading to stagnation in the growth of mobile services.

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