Tariff hike complies with regulatory framework: Department of Telecommunications

In response to Congress' allegations, the Department of Telecommunications clarified that telecom service providers (TSPs) have raised mobile service prices after more than two years.
Image used for representational purpose.
Image used for representational purpose.

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 in a significant increase in median mobile speed to the level of 100 Mbps and a jump in India’s international rank from 111, in October 2022, to 15 today,” DoT said. 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 emphasised that the focus remains on safeguarding subscriber interests, promoting orderly growth through investments in cutting-edge technologies, and ensuring financial sustainability. The government also underscored the importance of investing in advanced technologies.

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