Bharti Airtel is the India’s largest telecom operator. Earlier this year, Airtel launched its 3G services in India. The company has won 3G license in Mumbai, Delhi, Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh (West), Rajasthan, West Bengal, Himachal Pradesh, Bihar, Assam, North East, Jammu & Kashmir, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka circle. Airtel subscribers in other circles will also be able to enjoy the 3G services, thanks to the Intra Circle Roaming Agreement (ICRA) with private operators such as Idea and Vodafone. This is definitely a good news, but we also have a bad news for the Airtel subscribers.
Airtel has recently hiked its prepaid tariff by 20% in 6 circles across India, including New Delhi, Andhra Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh circles. Pre-paid subscribers will be charged 1.2 paisa per second instead of the usual 1 paisa per second tariff. It means that, Airtel subscribers will need to shell out Rs.0.90 per minute for local and STD calls. Airtel has also increased the rates of local and STD SMS to Rs.1 and Rs.1.5 respectively.
According to the reports, Bharti Airtel has hiked the price because the company has paid $10.7 billion last year to acquire the Africa business of Kuwaiti telecom operator Zain. The company has also paid $3.3 billion to buy the 3G spectrum in India. Last year, Airtel has reached a new milestone of 200 million customers. To celebrate the success, the company has also changed its logo and signature tune. Airtel currently operates in 19 countries across South Asia, Africa and the Channel Islands.
“Telecom is probably the only industry where despite increasing inflation, tariffs have been falling unabatedly. Continuously declining margins, high 3G & BWA auction prices, constrained spectrum and rural roll out aspirations leave us with little choice but to make some price corrections. We are committed to enhance value for our customers through continued investments in network, technology, customer experience and life enriching services,” the company said in a statement.
After Airtel, other private operators such as Vodafone, Tata Indicom and Tata Docomo are expected to join the bandwagon. We have a question for the Airtel subscriber out there. What are your views regarding the hike in price? Will you shift your Airtel number to other operator using the MNP or you will stay connected with Airtel? Let us know your views in the comments below.