Bharti Airtel cuts 3G tariff by 70%, others likely to follow

Written by fe Bureau | New Delhi | Updated: May 18 2012, 07:03am hrs
Bharti Airtel on Thursday slashed the 3G services tariff rates across the country by as much as 70%, ringing bells for a possible round of tariff war in the 3G segment.

Industry experts say that with the market leader slashing tariffs, others are likely to follow suit. This is likely to give an impetus to the miniscule size of 3G subscribers in the country, Prashant Singhal of E&Y said. While India boasts of more than 900 million mobile phone users, just about 12 million of those use 3G services. However, with the prices coming down, the usage is expected to get a boost.

Airtel had purchased 3G spectrum in 13 of the 22 circles for Rs 12,295 crore in the 3G and the broadband wireless auctions conducted by the government in 2010.

Departing from the existing practice of a monthly 3G rental plan, it has introduced a new scheme called the 3G snacking proposition, under which an existing user can buy 30 minutes usage of 3G services for Rs 10 and a days validity. The company also reduced the volume-based browsing rate on 3G from 10 paisa per 10kb to 3 paisa per 10kb.

Under another tariff plan titled Smartbytes, it plans to offer additional data usage packs for its post-paid mobile customers on 3G which will allow the users to subscribe to incremental 3G data usage packs.

According to a statement issued by the company, With Airtel 3G Smartbytes, post-paid mobile customers will have uninterrupted access to high speed browsing on their mobile devices even after exhausting their monthly data limits. The Smartbytes additional data usage packs will be available in a range of pre-determined price options that allow Airtel 3G customers to choose a plan that suits their needs.