Bharti Airtel, India's leading telecom operator, has hiked the entry-level tariffs in 17 out of 22 telecom circles in India. Initially, the tariff hike happened in two circles, from Rs 99 to Rs 155 in Odisha and Haryana in November 2022. This tariff hike by Bharti Airtel in two circles is followed by the revision of entry-level tariffs in seven more circles - Bihar, HP, Rajasthan, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Northeast, and UP-West. Telecom circles - Delhi, Mumbai, Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh-east, West Bengal, Punjab, Jammu and Kashmir, and Assam - followed the tariff hike a day later, taking the count of circles in which Airtel Hiked the entry-level tariffs to more than fifteen.
Also Read: 5G Backhaul Fiberisation to Cost Rs 3 Lakh Crore for Telcos: ICRA
Timing of Tariff Hike
This correction of tariff comes at a time when Indian Telcos are rolling out 5G networks at a faster pace to set a Global benchmark, and at the same time, the Industry's debt level continue to be high. One private telco is struggling to pay Network Vendors and is still looking for loans to fund and meet operational expenses while simultaneously losing subscribers month on month. India currently has around 35% of its towers fiberised, and ICRA expects that the CAPEX required to fiberise the number of towers needed to provide a full-scale 5G Network experience would be close to Rs 3 lakh crore over the next 4-5 years. It looks highly challenging to deploy the kind of infrastructure required for proper 5G Networks without any significant Tariff revisions.
Also Read: How Tariff Hikes Can Help Improve the Telecom Industry
Bharti Airtel Rs 155 Prepaid Plan
This entry-level prepaid recharge plan from Airtel can get you unlimited local, STD and roaming calls, 300 SMS, and 1 GB of Data with a validity of 24 days. Data Tariff post quota completion will be charged at 50p per MB. This recharge also gives customers the benefits of Wynk Music Free and Free Hellotunes. Airtel customers can enjoy Airtel 5G Plus using existing data packs.
Also Read: Bharti Airtel Leads 4G Subscriber Net Additions in Nov: MOFSL
In its Telecom Sector report, Motilal Oswal said that Bharti Airtel stood out in Active, 4G Subscriber base additions for November 2022. Considering Active subscribers, Reliance Jio and Vodafone Idea witnessed a decline of 3 million and 2 million subscribers MoM, whereas Bharti Airtel saw a 1 million MoM addition of subscribers. MOFSL also stated that this consistent decline in the subscriber base for the last three months indicates the SIM consolidation in Industry. SIM consolidation occurs when individuals with multiple SIMs discontinue using one or more of them.
Also Read: Airtel 5G Plus Announced in 2 Cities of Telangana
These tariff hikes are baseline tariff corrections to streamline the struggling sector and help the digital infrastructure and 5G rollouts required for the country to achieve the set digital goals. However, it is only a matter of time before Airtel hikes tariffs in the remaining circles.