Airtel India CEO Says Mobile Tariffs Unsustainable, Need To Go Up
Pedestrians walk past an advertisment for Bharti Airtel Ltd. in Mumbai. (Photographer: Dhiraj Singh/Bloomberg)

Airtel India CEO Says Mobile Tariffs Unsustainable, Need To Go Up

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The current mobile tariffs are unsustainable and need to be increased, Bharti Airtel Ltd.’s top executive said on Tuesday.

Snubbing Reliance Jio Infocomm Ltd.’s move to levy 6 paise per minute for voice calls to rival networks, Gopal Vittal, Airtel's chief executive officer for India and South Asia, said interconnection usage charges are not part of mobile tariff but clearing charges among operators for completing incoming calls.

"We believe tariffs are unsustainable. We believe tariffs need to go up. We have always maintained this stand," Vittal said on the sidelines of India Mobile Congress in New Delhi.

IUC has nothing to do with tariff. It is a clearing house, cost of carrying calls. It is a bilateral thing settled among carriers. Over the last 20 years , IUC has always been absorbed,” said Vittal.

The Airtel India CEO also weighed in on the spectrum costs for the next round of auctions, saying they are very high and unaffordable to do 5G business.

"Investment climate and investment must be attractive for investors. This means investors should get returns on what they invest," Vittal said adding that telecom sector should be healthy enough to attract good talents and meet aspirations of Digital India programme.

Also read: Reliance Jio Says TRAI’s IUC Review Will Result In ‘Windfall’ Gains For Old Telecom Firms

To achieve the desired results, it is time to wear two hats—one for the company and the other for the country, he said, noting that telecom sector can bring in revolution if the stakeholders change their approach towards solving problems.

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