Airtel Could Soon Hike Tariffs, Says Chairman Sunil Mittal

Highlights
  • Airtel may soon increase tariffs for prepaid and postpaid plans in the country for sustainability.
  • Jio and Vi are also expected to follow Airtel with revised recharge plans.

Airtel, India’s second-largest telecom operator, could soon hike tariffs in the country. Airtel’s Chairman Sunil Mittal recently stated in an interview with NDTV Profit that the company will increase telecom rates in India to keep the market sustainable.

Mittal did not disclose a specific timeline for the revised rates. We can expect the changes in telecom tariffs in the second half of 2024.

The telco aims to increase the average revenue per user (ARPU) from Rs 208 to Rs 300 in the upcoming months. Airtel has been constantly expanding its 5G services in India, spending over Rs 40,000 on spectrum and other infrastructure upgrades. The company is now slowly looking to recoup its investments.

It is worth noting that the current rates in the Indian telecom sector have not changed significantly since December 2021. Network providers have developed a cycle of increasing tariffs every 2-3 years since the introduction of 4G in the country.

Jio and Vi may also join Airtel in tariff hikes

The Indian telecom sector is dominated by three main players – Jio, Airtel, and Vi. Although BSNL is also a major entity, it does not have a commanding control over the market compared to its competitors.

If Airtel decides to increase telecom tariffs in India, Jio and Vi are expected to follow suit.

A similar pattern was observed in November 2021 when Airtel hiked the prices of its prepaid and postpaid plans by 20%, which was quickly replicated by Jio and Vi within a month.

A recent telecom report suggested that Airtel and Jio could soon end their unlimited 5G trials in the country. Both telecom operators are expected to launch dedicated 5G plans priced 5-10% higher than regular 4G plans. The report also added that the existing 4G packs might also see a price hike, as evident from Sunil Mittal’s statement.