A large section of society can't afford mobile tariffs at current levels. Once that goes up, it would become even further out of reach for low-income users. Connectivity is a fundamental right today. Thus, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) is looking for ways to cut down costs for consumers and bring affordable mobile packs. The regulatory body may push for getting new packs which only offer incoming and SMS benefits and are priced lower than the regular packs. This would allow consumers to keep their secondary SIMs active for a more affordable cost.
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The development has been reported by The Economic Times. The report from ET suggests that the telcos are not happy with this recommendation of TRAI. The regulatory body has not yet floated a consultation paper on this. However, offline consultations have already started.
The telecom players with whom this has been discussed said it is not a favourable move. It would hurt the ambitions of the Indian telecom players to increase their average revenue per user (ARPU) figure. The report added that an executive of a telecom firm said that even if it is just incoming or outgoing, the network is still being utilised. Thus, bringing any such plan that only offers incoming and SMS at lower costs would stretch the resources of the telcos further.
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Airtel has already started implementing tariff hikes in a small-scale fashion. The telco has removed the Rs 99 plan from its offerings in several circles. Very soon, the plan is expected to be removed from more circles, and the new base plan that users would have the option to recharge with is the Rs 155 plan. However, a full-scale tariff hike is unlikely as the telcos don't want to shock their consumers this time. Instead, the consumers can be comfortable with the new prices if the hikes are done in a phased manner.