Mobile recharges to get expensive? Airtel hikes tariffs, others could follow soon
Private telecom services provider Bharti Airtel had previously undertaken a similar tariff hike (market-testing) when it increased its minimum recharge offer from Rs 79 to Rs 99 in select circles in 2021. The telco is now likely to end all 28-day calling plans with SMS and data priced below Rs 155.
New Delhi: You might see an increase in your mobile bills soon as telecom companies could begin the next round of tariff hikes. Bharti Airtel has already increased prepaid tariffs in two circles, for those porting in, by as much as 57 per cent. This, analysts believe, could trigger a widespread mobile recharge hike.
The private telecom services provider has reportedly increased the price of its minimum recharge for 28 days service plan by around 57 per cent to Rs 155 in Haryana and Odisha. Airtel will soon be discontinuing the Rs 99 plan (which offered Rs 99 talk time, 200MB of data and validity of 28 days) in the two states and will now offer Rs 155 as its lowest prepaid recharge plan.
Reports suggest that the telco is also expected to roll out the same plan pan-India.
The other minimum recharge plans of Rs 109 and Rs 111 (valid for 1 month each) also showed as discontinued/unavailable, according to a report by Morgan Stanley, which said plans are active in other circles. “We believe current move highlights strong intent of Bharti to lead next round of tariff hikes, although it is critical to see if competition will follow suit”.
Calculated risk to check how customers respond
ICICI Securities, in a brokerage note, said that Bharti Airtel has embarked on a market-testing tariff hike in Haryana and Odisha circles, and the move has just added a huge upside risk to its estimates. Bharti has thus taken a calculated risk to check how customers respond, and this pack is largely being sold to 2G customers only.
The earlier Rs 99 recharge had Rs 99 talk-time value and very limited data of 200 MB valid for 28 days. In contrast, the now-adopted Rs 155 minimum recharge gives unlimited voice, 1GB data allowance and 300 SMSes. This is a massive 57 per cent surge in minimum recharge value, and has been done in the customer segment where affordability matters the most,” the report said.
Airtel had previously undertaken a similar tariff hike (market-testing) when it increased its minimum recharge offer from Rs 79 to Rs 99 in select circles in 2021. The telco is now likely to end all 28-day calling plans with SMS and data priced below Rs 155.
Meanwhile, it is expected that other telcos could also announce tariff hike soon in order to compensate for the whopping Rs 1.5 lakh crore amount spend during the 5G spectrum auctions that ended a few months ago.