Mumbai, India, April 18, 2014: Leading telecom majors Bharti Airtel and Vodafone India have increased call rates by scaling down discount offers, setting the stage for the next round of tariff hikes in the industry. According to Sunil Bharti Mittal, this is the second hike in tariff plans this year. The major telecom companies are facing huge debt burdens as they have had to shell out hefty amounts in the spectrum auctions held recently says Sachin Karpe. Airtel has reduced the validity of its Rs.125 mobile internet pack from 28 to 21 days, which works out to Rs.170 for 1GB of internet pack for 30 days.
The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India, which monitors mobile tariff at present, does not inform consumers about increase in mobile rates by service providers. Bharti Airtel with 20 crore subscribers’ commands a market share of over 22 per cent. Vodafone has also reduced validity on its promotional pack vouchers from 30 days to 24 days. In the last couple of years, mobile companies have increased their tariff rates in about a fortnight or month after change in rates of their competitors. Vodafone has also reduced validity on its promotional pack vouchers from 30 days to 24 days. In the last couple of years, mobile companies have increased their tariff rates in about a fortnight or month after change in rates of their competitors. Telcos have blamed tariff hike on high outgo on purchasing spectrum. In the recently held auction, telecom companies had to shell out Rs.61,000 crore in bid for 2G spectrum, which they would have to pay in next few years says Sachin Karpe. Bharti Airtel commented that there is no change in headline tariffs, however, reduction of discounts and promotional offers is a part of our ongoing strategy.
Vodafone India spokesperson also says that there is no change in the base tariffs but promotion packs change from time to time for segment periodically as part of continuously refreshing the promotion pack portfolio. The tariffs differ from circle to circle and are based on local competitive activities in the market and there is no common change across the country. The trio Airtel, Vodafone and Idea jointly cover more than half of the Indian mobile market. Bharti’s profit growth is expected to be 22% in 2015-2016, a sharp drop from an expected 56% expansion in 2013-2014. Bharti Airtel and Vodafone will pay nearly Rs 37, 000 crore against spectrum purchase, which is seen as one of the prime reasons for hiking tariffs to cover up for the high cost and fresh investments.