- Vodafone Idea was the first to announce a tariff hike
- Bharti Airtel and Reliance Jio have also announced a hike in the coming weeks
- Currently, BSNL plans are under review
Out of all the telecom operators in the industry, the state-led telecom operator, Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) was the only one till now which had not announced a hike in the tariffs until now. All the telecom operators in the industry, starting from Vodafone Idea, Bharti Airtel, and even Reliance Jio have made statements that they would be raising tariffs in the coming days, especially in December to drive more investments into networks. However, in a new headline, as reported by ET Telecom, BSNL has now also announced that they would be raising tariffs too in December following the hike by other private telecom operators. As per BSNL’s official statement, currently, it is reviewing the tariffs under its portfolio and will make the hike in the upcoming month.
BSNL to Raise Tariffs in the Coming Weeks
A senior BSNL official has said about this new move, “We are presently examining our voice and data tariff and will increase it from December 1, 2019.” Now although the official said about this new hike under anonymity, he did not speak about the quantum of these new hikes but instead added that this hike would be conveyed to the telecom subscribers in the matter of coming days. To recall, until last week there was no news in the sector about tariff hike from the telecom operators. However, only last week, Vodafone Idea made the first move by issuing a public release about the increase in tariff. The telecom operator also added that the new revision of tariffs would start on December 1. Bharti Airtel also joined the unison in announcing the hike of tariffs for the subscribers. Not only this, but the Mukesh Ambani led rival telecom operator, Reliance Jio also issued a press release saying that it would also hike the tariff for the subscribers.
BSNL Revival Package
Last month of October has been very happening for the state-led telecom operator BSNL, and also MTNL which were caught up in great financial distress, with massive losses in their balance sheets, and pending dues to their operational and other creditors. However, in October, the government finally extended a relief package to the telecom operator, thus putting an end to its financial troubles. As part of this relief package, the government has said that it will give a VRS package to the telco along with administratively allocated spectrum for 4G services. But, with this being said, BSNL still continues to have falling revenues as the months pass. The new tariff hike in the upcoming month would help the telecom operator in paving this pit as the increased tariff would bring better cash flow for the company.
AGR Increases Troubles for Other Telcos
It is also worth noting that ever since the coming of Reliance Jio, BSNL has also been offering attractive prepaid, postpaid plans and broadband offerings to its subscribers, which has helped it in standing against the competition in the playing field. In fact, the situation in the industry is such that in the September month, BSNL was reported to add 7.37 lakh new subscribers to its total base, whereas Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea lost 49 lakh subscribers in total in the same month. The new tariff rise comes in the wake of the new AGR ruling from the Supreme Court which has put new pressure on the telecom operators to pay total dues of Rs 1.3 lakh crore in the upcoming months in the name of license fees and the Spectrum Usage Charges (SUC.)
Arpit spends his day closely following the telecom and tech industry. A music connoisseur and a night owl, he also takes a deep interest in the Indian technology start-up scene and spends rest of his time spilling poetry and stories on paper.