If you were to ask me, prices should have increased as of yesterday.”
Under the regulatory norm, operators have forbearance with regard to tariffs and can make changes in it without any prior approval from the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India. However, after making changes they have to file the tariffs with the regulator within a week's time.
Why have the operators chosen now to make such adjustments in their tariff plans after a tariff war in 2009, which saw a race towards the bottom? Analysts and company officials explain that with gross additions in the industry coming down, the pressure on operators' to throw in freebies to garner subscribers has gone. Further, with spectrum not being given any more based on the subscribers one has, there is no longer the pressure to have quantity irrespective of quality. However, since the market is still price-sensitive and there are about six to seven operators who are quite competitive, each player wants to move cautiously and, therefore, is refraining from an across-the-board hike in headline tariffs.