After Reliance Jio, Bharti Airtel announces tariff hike for its prepaid and postpaid plans

As per the new tariff, the cheapest plan Airtel offers is now Rs. 199, which was earlier Rs. 179, an increase of almost 11%.
Bharti Airtel
Bharti AirtelFIle Photo

NEW DELHI: A day after Reliance Jio announced a tariff hike for its prepaid and postpaid plans, Bharti Airtel, India's second-largest telecom service provider, followed suit and announced a tariff hike of up to 21% for all its prepaid and postpaid plans. The revised prices will come into effect from July 3.

This marks the first significant tariff increase by telecom companies since 2021. With this announcement, Vodafone Idea Limited (VIL) remains the only telecom provider that has not implemented a tariff revision. Airtel justifies the move as essential to achieve a financially sustainable business model, allowing them to invest in network upgrades and 5G rollout.

“Bharti Airtel has maintained that the mobile Average Revenue per User (ARPU) needs to be upwards of Rs. 300, to enable a financially healthy business model for Telcos in India. We believe that this level of ARPU will enable the substantial investments required in network technology and spectrum and offer a modest return on capital,” said Airtel in a press note.  The telco aims to increase its Average Revenue per User (ARPU) to Rs. 300, which is currently Rs. 209. This figure is already the highest among major telcos in India, surpassing Jio's Rs. 181.7 and Vodafone Idea's Rs. 146. Analysts suggest this could signal further hikes from Airtel in the future.

As per the new tariff, the cheapest plan Airtel offers is now Rs. 199, which was earlier Rs. 179. This is an increase of almost 11%. Other plans ranging from Rs. 455 to Rs. 1799 have seen similar hikes in rates.

For data plans, the rate of daily data add-on (1GB) will increase by Rs. 3, rising from Rs. 19 to Rs. 22. In the case of the 365-day validity plan offering 2GB/day, the increase works out to be as high as Rs. 600, as rates are set to rise from Rs. 2,999 to Rs. 3,599.

Airtel's postpaid plans, such as Rs. 399, Rs. 499, Rs. 599, and Rs. 999, have increased by up to 20%. However, the company defended its price hike, mentioning that they have increased prices modestly on entry-level plans to minimize the burden on budget-constrained consumers.

“We have ensured that there is a very modest price increase (less than 70p per day) on the entry level plans, in order to eliminate any burden on budget challenged consumers,” said Airtel. The first major rate hikes since 2021 by a telco is aimed at increasing its ARPU and monetizing its 5G network.

The telecom companies have made significant investments in rolling out 5G services in the country, without any monetization so far. Therefore, analysts believe these hikes were expected after the general election.

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