With the rise in cost of operation for telecom operators due to spectrum licenses and equipment purchase, India’s top telecom operators have doubled the rates of voice call and in addition increased the prices for special recharges, data packs and sms packs for both new and existing customers.
India’s top telecom operator Bharti Airtel started the hike with increasing the voice call rates from Rs 1 to Rs 2 per minute. In addition Airtel has also reduced promotional benefits and free minutes offered to customers. Free minutes are being reduced by up to a quarter and has increased prices of call vouchers for prepaid customers by Rs 5- Rs 15. The validity of Airtel’s call recharge coupon will expire after 30 days unlike previous expiration period of 90 days. The hike is mainly due to rising costs of operation, boosting its share price and also the Govt’s decision to remove roaming charges. The rise will be extended to all of India’s 22 telecom circles in phases.
According to Airtel’s statement “We have been reiterating that increase in prices is inevitable, which is reflected from the fact that despite rising costs, tariffs have been falling over the past 12 quarters“
Following the path Idea cellular has increased the call rates in some of its telecom circles from earlier 1.2 paise per second to 2 paise per second and in addition it has withdrawn several promotional offers.
Vodafone India welcomed the hike in call rates for prepaid customers and said to follow the path of Bharti Airtel and Ideal Cellular. According to an official statement Vodafone India commented “We welcome the price rationalization for bonus cards, Special Tariff Vouchers and free minutes from our competitors. We feel these were inevitable given the sharp input and energy price increases in the country. We are studying these moves individually across all our circles. We are inclined to follow to maintain consistency and competitive position though we haven’t decided on our precise circle-wise moves.”
It is yet to be seen how other telecom operators would react to this price hike situation.