Bharti Airtel Hikes Tariffs By Up To 42% In New Prepaid Plans
Pedestrians walk past an advertisement for Bharti Airtel Ltd. in Mumbai. (Photographer: Dhiraj Singh/Bloomberg)  

Bharti Airtel Hikes Tariffs By Up To 42% In New Prepaid Plans


Telecom operator Bharti Airtel Ltd. has announced new prepaid plans wherein calls and data tariffs are higher by up to 42 percent.

The development came a few hours after Vodafone Idea Ltd. announced plans to raise mobile rates on similar lines. But Airtel’s new prepaid plans, effective Dec. 3, are marginally cheaper.

"Airtel's new plans, represent tariff increases in the range of a mere 50 paise per day to Rs 2.85 per day and offer generous data and calling benefits. These tariffs will be applicable from Tuesday, December 3, 2019," the company said in a statement.

The operator has announced new plans in "unlimited"category with 2 days, 28 days, 84 days, 365 days validity, which are costlier by up to up to 41.14 percent, calculations show.

The new pricing represents a very modest increase. The effective revision in today's context is equal to what a customer would pay for a cup of tea in week at a roadside stall, a company official, who did not wish to be named, said.

The minimum monthly recharge plan for both Airtel and Vodafone Idea now stands at Rs 49, as against Rs 35 earlier.

And, like Vodafone Idea, Airtel has also capped outgoing calls that can be made to rival network. Buyers of the monthly prepaid plan will get 1,000 minutes of outgoing calls, while those with a three-month subscription will get 3,000 minutes. An annual plan will buy customers 12,000 minutes of outgoing calls.

Beyond these limits, a customer will need to pay 6 paise per minute for outgoing calls.

According to the new Airtel prepaid plans, the tariff hike is the steepest for annual plans at 41.14 precent. An annual unlimited plan will now cost Rs 2,398 instead of 1,699 at present.

Here’s a look at all the new Airtel prepaid plans:

Bharti Airtel Hikes Tariffs By Up To 42% In New Prepaid Plans
Bharti Airtel Hikes Tariffs By Up To 42% In New Prepaid Plans

The costlier prepaid plans come against the backdrop of the Supreme Court judgment on adjusted gross revenue, which battered Airtel’s financials in the second quarter of the ongoing fiscal. The company reported a loss of Rs 23,045 crore in the September quarter of 2019-20 as it provided for dues pending to the government related to the AGR dispute.

According to government data, Airtel's liabilities add up to nearly Rs 35,586 crore, of which Rs 21,682 crore is toward licence fees and Rs 13,904.01 crore for spectrum usage charges (excluding the dues of Telenor and Tata Teleservices acquired by Airtel).

Also Read: Why Indian Telecom Is Where It Is Right Now

The government is currently not considering any proposal on waiver of penalties and interest on outstanding licence fee based on adjusted gross revenue, or on extending the timelines for telecom companies to pay up their statutory dues.

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